The Five Most Intriguing Assistant Coach Hirings this Offseason

Original photo via Cal Athletics

Share or Save for Later

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Save to Favorites

The transfer portal has added a new craze to college football, but the coaching transfer portal's been around since the forward pass was invented. We've excluded new head coaches for this list (sorry, Mike Elko) and are examining the most interesting assistant coach hires of the offseason.

Chad Morris - Texas State WR Coach/Passing Game Coordinator

Texas State already had GJ Kinne and offensive coordinator Mack Leftwich. Now, it will soon add a third, albeit slightly more experienced, cook to the kitchen. Morris first rose to prominence in the late 2000s coaching Lake Travis to back-to-back undefeated state championship seasons. He then served as Clemson's offensive coordinator from 2011-14, coaching stars Tahj Boyd, Deandre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins. Don't let comments on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, from sour Arkansas fans fool you, Morris can coach some offense. Just take it from Kinne, who played quarterback at Tulsa when Morris was the offensive coordinator there.

Jordan Peterson - Texas A&M Co-Defensive Coordinator/DBs coach

Mike Elko sustained a bevy of defensive line transfers when he was hired as Texas A&M's head coach and has responded with quite the rebuild. He added Purdue's Nic Scourton, the No.1-rated edge rusher in the portal, former five-star defensive back Dezz Ricks from Alabama, and most recently inked Texas A&M alum Jordan Peterson as his co-defensive coordinator. Peterson, 36, is young but proven as a Power Five assistant. He finished as the Big 12's No.1-ranked recruiter in the 2024 cycle and mentored two-time First Team All-Big 12 cornerback Cobee Bryant.

Jake Spavital - Baylor Offensive Coordinator

After a 3–9 season, Baylor retained Dave Aranda but instructed him to bring a former head coach into the building so Aranda could focus more on the defensive gameplan. Enter Spavital, joining the thousands of people migrating from California to Texas. Spavital spent one year at Cal coaching an offense that averaged 31.6 points per game. Don't be fooled, he's more Texan than a Pacific Coast guy. Spavital spent four years as Texas State's head coach from 2019-22. Before that, he coached Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M in an offensive coordiantor stint that lasted from 2013-15. Priority number one for Spav is settling on a quarterback, either Toledo transfer Dequan Finn or incumbent Sawyer Robertson. 

Andy Avalos - TCU Defensive Coordinator

The timing of Avalos's onboarding was strange. Defensive coordinator Joe Gillespie was relieved of his duties over two weeks after TCU surrendered 62 offensive points to Oklahoma to close out a disappointing 5–7 campaign. Avalos, who went 22–14 in three years as Boise State's head coach before getting fired in November, was hired less than 24 hours later. Regardless of wonky timing, change needed to happen in Fort Worth. A year after reaching the National Championship, Gillespie's unit was 78th in the nation in scoring defense. Avalos's hiring signals a shift from the 3-3-5 stack into more nickel personnel. Will that change allow TCU to contend for a Big 12 title again?

Skyler Cassity - Sam Houston Defensive Coordinator

Sam Houston made the 29-year-old Cassity the youngest coordinator in the FBS - a new bar for defensive wunderkinds. While under 30, Cassity is wise in football years, having spent his chilhood watching his dad, Mike, serve as defensive coordinator for nine Division I programs over 22 years. He's been prepping to follow in his father's footsteps since attending Auburn undergrad, where he was a recruiting assistant. But Cassity quickly found his way back to Texas. He was a defensive graduate assistant at Texas Tech for three years and Texas State for one. Most recently, he served as Abilene Christian's defensive coordinator and molded the best unit in the program's Divion I history. 

This article is available to our Digital Subscribers.
Click "Subscribe Now" to see a list of subscription offers.
Already a Subscriber? Sign In to access this content.

Sign In
Don't Miss Any Exclusive Coverage!

We've been the Bible of Texas football fans for 64 years. By joining the DCTF family you'll gain access to all of our exclusive content and have our magazines mailed to you!