30 college football assistants whose stock is on the rise

November’s arrival means the national focus on developments in the coaching world will progressively intensify. That makes this a good time to take a look at coaches whose stock is on the rise based on their work this season.

Thursday, we identified 22 head coaches meeting that criteria. Today, we’ll spotlight some assistants.

Here are 30 whose stock is on the rise. They’re listed alphabetically.

Western Kentucky co-OC/quarterbacks coach Ben Arbuckle

Led by Arbuckle, who became Western Kentucky’s OC after Zach Kittley was hired at Texas Tech, the Hilltoppers rank 12th nationally in passing offense and are tied for first in Conference USA in touchdowns (40 in nine games).

Southern Miss DC Austin Armstrong

Southern Miss has improved from 80th nationally in scoring defense last season to 40th this season, its second with Armstrong as its DC. The Golden Eagles also are tied for fifth nationally in sacks (3.63 per game). Before Southern Miss, Armstrong was inside linebackers coach at Louisiana (2020) after a year as an analyst at Georgia.

Florida State OC/offensive line coach Alex Atkins

Aided by Atkins, promoted to coordinator in the offseason, the Seminoles are tied for 11th nationally in yards per play after ranking 71st last season and 73rd in 2020. Atkins’ offensive line also has allowed the fewest sacks in the ACC (1.25 per game) and has helped FSU rank No. 1 in the conference in rushing (209.7 yards per game).

Missouri DC Blake Baker

In its first season under Baker, Missouri has improved to 19th nationally in total defense after ranking 106th in 2021. Baker, a former DC at Miami, was LSU’s linebackers coach last season.

Tennessee DC Tim Banks

It’s not just the offense that’s led to No. 1 Tennessee’s 8-0 start. Banks’ defense leads the SEC in takeaways (16) and ranks fourth in sacks, scoring defense and defensive yards per play.

Syracuse quarterbacks coach Jason Beck

In his first season under Beck, who previously was the quarterback coach at Virginia, Syracuse QB Garrett Shrader has improved his QB rating from 113.7 last season to 157.5 this fall. Shrader had nine TD passes last season and exceeded that total in the Orange’s fifth game this year.

Oregon OC Kenny Dillingham

Under Dillingham, a first-time play-caller, Oregon ranks No. 1 in the Pac-12 and No. 3 nationally in total offense. The Ducks are averaging an FBS-best 570 yards per game against conference opponents. Dillingham previously was an OC and quarterback coach at Florida State (2020-21), Auburn (2019) and Memphis (2018).

Georgia Southern OC Bryan Ellis

Georgia Southern leads the Sun Belt and ranks No. 11 nationally in total offense. The Eagles scored six touchdowns in a 45-42 win over Nebraska. They also posted 590 yards in a 45-38 win over then-No. 25 James Madison.

Liberty defensive line coach Jeremy Garrett

Aided by Garrett’s group, Liberty is tied for third nationally in sacks and tackles for loss. Garrett was the Cleveland Browns’ assistant defensive line coach for two seasons before being hired at Liberty in the offseason.

Washington OC/quarterbacks coach Ryan Grubb

Washington leads the nation in passing offense (379.3 yards per game) and is 10th in scoring offense (40.4 points per game). Grubb previously was the OC at Fresno State under his current boss, Kalen DeBoer.

Tennessee quarterbacks coach Joey Halzle

Vols QB Hendon Hooker has evolved into a Heisman frontrunner and has accounted for 61 total touchdowns with only four interceptions in his two seasons under Halzle. Halzle, a former Oklahoma quarterback, has both played and coached under Vols coach Josh Heupel.

Tulane DC Chris Hampton

Under Hampton, Tulane has improved from 101st nationally in total defense last season to 21st this fall. The defensive improvement has been a big part of the Green Wave’s turnaround from 2-10 last season to 7-1 and a No. 19 ranking this year.

Michigan safeties coach/special teams coordinator Jay Harbaugh

Harbaugh, the son of Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, has helped Michigan rank fifth among Power 5 teams in pass defense in his first season as the Wolverines’ safeties coach. Harbaugh, in his third year as Michigan’s special teams coordinator, previously worked on the Wolverines’ offensive staff as tight ends coach and running backs coach.

Jackson State linebackers coach Andre Hart

With help from Hart, who is in his third season at Jackson State, the Tigers rank No. 1 in the FCS in total defense and No. 5 in rush defense.

USC OC/offensive line coach Josh Henson

Aided by Henson, USC ranks fifth nationally in yards per play (7.17) and 14th in yards per carry (5.54). Henson was hired by the Trojans after three seasons as Texas A&M’s offensive line coach.

TCU wide receivers coach Malcolm Kelly

The play of Kelly’s receiver group has been part of TCU ranking No. 2 in the Big 12 in passing offense. Four different Horned Frogs wide receivers have at least three touchdown catches, including potential first-round pick Quentin Johnston, who ranks second in the conference with an average of 81.3 receiving yards per game. Kelly, a former Oklahoma and NFL wide receiver, has worked at TCU since 2019, first under Gary Patterson and now under Sonny Dykes.

Kansas OC Andy Kotelnicki

Kansas, which averaged a Big 12-worst 20.8 points per game last season, ranks fourth in the conference in scoring this fall (38 points per game). Kotelnicki has been Lance Leipold’s OC at Wisconsin-Whitewater (2013-14), Buffalo (2015-20) and now Kansas.

Notre Dame special teams coordinator Brian Mason

Notre Dame, which had one blocked kick last season, is tied for first nationally with five blocked kicks in its first season with Mason as coordinator. Mason was Cincinnati’s special teams coordinator for four seasons before being hired by the Fighting Irish.

Michigan DC Jesse Minter

Minter’s unit is third nationally in total defense and tied for third among Power 5 teams in sacks per game. Minter is in his first season with the Wolverines after a year as the DC at Vanderbilt and four on the defensive staff of the Baltimore Ravens.

UTSA wide receivers coach Joe Price

Three of the top six players in Conference USA in receiving yardage per game are from Price’s group, including De’Corian Clark, who ranks second in the conference with an average of 91.5 yards per game. Price became UTSA’s wide receivers coach in January after two years as the team’s director of player personnel.

TCU co-OC/offensive line coach A.J. Ricker

Aided by Ricker and his linemen, TCU ranks No. 2 nationally in yards per play (7.57). The Horned Frogs are tied for sixth nationally in yards per carry (5.81) and are allowing almost a full sack fewer per game than last season in conference play (1.60 this year compared to 2.56 last season). Ricker, a former Missouri team captain and all-conference center, previously worked in the same capacity under Dykes at SMU.

TCU OC Garrett Riley

Led by Riley, TCU ranks third nationally in scoring (44.3 points per game). Riley, the younger brother of USC coach Lincoln Riley, was Dykes’ OC at SMU for two seasons before making the move with Dykes to TCU.

Arkansas linebackers coach Michael Scherer

Two of Scherer’s linebackers are among the top six in the SEC in tackles, Bumper Pool and potential first-round pick Drew Sanders. Scherer, a former Missouri linebacker, was promoted to his current role last year after a season as an Arkansas analyst.

Washington wide receivers coach JaMarcus Shephard

Under Shephard, the Huskies’ Rome Odunze and Jalen McMillan have emerged as two of the more productive receivers in the Pac-12. They rank second and sixth, respectively, in the conference in receiving yardage. Shephard, who also serves as associate head coach and pass game coordinator, previously worked at Purdue for five seasons.

LSU quarterbacks coach Joe Sloan

LSU QB Jayden Daniels has progressively improved throughout the season under Sloan’s coaching and has accounted for 11 total touchdowns with zero interceptions in the Tigers’ past two games. Sloan spent nine seasons at Louisiana Tech, most recently as the team’s OC, before being hired as part of Brian Kelly’s first staff at LSU.

UTSA co-OC/quarterbacks coach Will Stein

In his first season as UTSA’s offensive play-caller, Stein has the Roadrunners ranked 15th nationally in total offense. Stein, a former Louisville quarterback, was UTSA’s wide receivers coach in 2020 and ’21.

James Madison quarterbacks coach Tino Sunseri

JMU QB Todd Centeio, a Colorado State transfer, ranks 13th nationally in passing yardage and ninth in QB rating. Sunseri, a former Pitt quarterback and the son of veteran coach Sal Sunseri, has been at James Madison the past two seasons after two years as a quarterback graduate assistant at Alabama.

Ole Miss offensive line coach Jake Thornton

With help from Thornton and his group, Ole Miss ranks No. 10 nationally in total offense and No. 3 in rushing offense. The Rebels also have allowed the fifth-fewest sacks per game nationally (0.78) after tying for 93rd last season (2.62). Thornton, a former Alabama graduate assistant, joined the Ole Miss staff last season after stints at two FCS schools (Gardner-Webb and Tennessee Tech).

Illinois DC Ryan Walters

Just two years after ranking 114th nationally in total defense, Illinois is No. 1 in its second season under Walters. Only two teams in the past 10 seasons have allowed fewer than 10.5 points per game — Georgia last season (10.2) and the Fighting Illini through eight games this year (8.2). Walters, a former Colorado safety, previously was the DC at Missouri.

Syracuse DC Tony White

After ranking last in the ACC in total defense in 2020, Syracuse improved to second under White last season and ranks first this fall. White, a former UCLA linebacker, spent two seasons at Arizona State before being hired at Syracuse in 2020.

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