New Kansas football coach Les Miles’ coaching staff is only little more than half complete, but it’s on track to be the best group of coaches KU has had since their Orange Bowl run in 2008.
As of today, Miles has filled six of the 10 permitted spots for full-time coaching assistants. Four of the six assistants come from a Power 5 school and almost all have had some big recruiting wins for their preceding programs.
Let’s take a look at which coaches have been announced thus far.
Chip Lindsey – Offensive Coordinator
Lindsey comes from Auburn University where he has spent the past two years as offensive coordinator.
In 2017, Auburn became the eighth team in SEC history and the first team in Auburn history to rush and pass for 3,000 yards in a season. Lindsey was also an offensive analyst on the 2013 team that made it to the BCS National Championship Game.
As the offensive coordinator at Southern Miss in 2015, the Golden Eagles offense saw a record-breaking year – setting school marks in completions (312), passing yards (4,263), total yards (6,758), touchdowns (67), and points (528). Lindsey also helped develop current San Francisco 49ers QB Nick Mullens into the Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year that year.
As a recruiter, he’s helped land two top-50, 4-star players for Auburn according to 247sports.com. And in less than two weeks on the job, he has helped Kansas land the country’s top JUCO QB in Thomas MacVittie.
Luke Meadows – Offensive Line Coach
Meadows joins KU after most recently serving as the offensive line coach and run game coordinator at Eastern Michigan during the 2017-18 seasons. In his first year on the job, his offensive line ranked 28th nationally in fewest sacks allowed.
Meadows also spent two years working alongside current OC Chip Lindsey during their time at Southern Miss. He was an integral part of their record-setting year in 2015 where the offense skyrocketed from 17.9 points per game to 39.9 and rushing yards increased from 72.9 to 179.8 yards per game.
That familiarity with Lindsey will surely pay dividends as they try to revamp this Kansas offense.
Emmett Jones – Wide Receivers Coach
Perhaps the most celebrated hire thus far of all the assistant coaches is new WR coach Emmett Jones.
Jones has spent the past three years as the outside receivers coach for the high-flying Texas Tech Red Raiders. In his first season, the Red Raiders led the country in total offense (566.6 yards per game) as well as passing offense (463 yards per game).
Jones coached two current NFL wide receivers while at Texas Tech – Keke Coutee and Dylan Cantrell. He also helped develop WR Antoine Wesley into a first team All-American and first team All-Big 12. Wesley just recently decided to forego his senior season and enter the 2019 NFL Draft where he is projected to be an early to mid-round pick.
While Jones seems more than capable as the WR coach, his greatest value may come in the form of his recruiting ties.
Prior to his arrival at Texas Tech, Jones spent 13 years coaching at the high school level in and around the Dallas/Fort Worth area in Texas. As a result, he was able to land over a dozen of some of the top talents in Texas.
The Texas recruiting pipeline that Beaty was supposed to offer never materialized during his time with the Jayhawks. With Jones’ connections, that could very well change…
Some think that it was a big mistake by the new Texas Tech coaching staff to not retain Jones and as of now, this pickup seems to be a great one for Kansas.
D.J. Eliot – Defensive Coordinator
Eliot joins the Jayhawks after spending the past two seasons as the defensive coordinator at former Big 12 foe, Colorado (ha that rhymed).
Eliot has 20 years coaching experience with stops at Colorado, Kentucky, Florida State, and Miami (FL). During his time at Kentucky and Florida State, he coached eight future NFL players – including two first round picks. He also helped take the Florida State defense from 108th in total defense in 2010, to second nationally in 2012.
As a recruiter, Eliot helped land seven 4-star recruits, and one 5-star recruit during his time at Kentucky and Florida State. He’s well known in Kentucky and in Florida – which is home to some of the top football talent in the country.
Chevis Jackson – Defensive Backs Coach
Chevis Jackson, a former player under Les Miles at LSU, joins Kansas after spending the previous three seasons as the defensive back coach at Ball State University in Indiana.
Jackson was a three-year starter at CB for Miles and was a member of the 2007 BCS National Championship team.
In 2017, he was named the MAC Recruiter of the Year by 247sports.com and in his short time on the job at KU, Jackson helped secure one of the top uncommitted players in Kansas, 3-star CB Jayden Russell out of Overland Park.
Great in home visit with @Co_Jackson21 & @carson_cramer tonight! Im sorry I made y’all do push up’s but don’t test me in Madden next time 😂🤷🏽♂️ ⚪️🔵🔴 pic.twitter.com/gFrMWyPHWi
— Jayden Russell 🏳 (@jayzaykc) December 5, 2018
Kwahn Drake – Defensive Line Coach
Drake joins DC D.J. Eliot from the Colorado Buffaloes where he was the defensive line coach for one season.
In his lone season at Colorado, he coached DT Mustafa Johnson who led the Pac-12 in sacks and ranked third in tackles-for-loss. Johnson’s 17.5 TFLs rank 10th highest in school history and it’s the most by a Colorado player in 25 years.
While Drake hasn’t had any major recruiting coups up to this point, Eliot called him an “incredible recruiter” in the announcement yesterday and he did spend three years as a high school coach in Louisiana, along with three years at Tulane University in New Orleans. So between Miles, Drake, and potentially Tony Hull, the Jayhawks have the personnel to keep the Kansas-Louisiana pipeline going strong.
Furthermore, the experience he has working with DC D.J. Eliot – like Meadows has working with Lindsey – should be a plus for Kansas in the seasons ahead as they look to replace players like first team All-Big 12 DT Daniel Wise.
Drake certainly knows how to pump up a team too.
Kwahn Drake is about to bring sooooooo much energy to @KU_Football. Can’t wait to see this every Saturday @BallCoachBaby #KUfball pic.twitter.com/43BpqdB5Zb
— Danny Woods (@dcwoods89) December 13, 2018
No word has been given about who will coach RBs, TEs, LBs, or safeties.
Current RB coach Tony Hull has been actively recruiting since Les Miles arrived and with his connections to Louisiana high schools and with the recruits he’s been able to bring in thus far, it’d be a major surprise to not see him back on the sidelines in 2019.
There’s also no word yet on the status of Lawrence native Clint Bowen, though he does have extensive experience as a safeties coach – including his time as DC/S coach on the 2008 Orange Bowl team.
As excited as KU fans should be about the hire of Les Miles, they should be equally excited about the staff he is gathering around him. Between the coaching experience and their proven ability to recruit, Jayhawk fans should be very enthusiastic about the direction of the program under this new regime.