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Coaching Quack: OLB Coach Cort Dennison

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Washington v Oregon
The Oregon Ducks current OLB coach wearing the worst color in the world and some guy named Kenjon Barner. You may have heard of him.
Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

The Ducks OLB coach switches sides in the longstanding rivalry with the school up north after a brief pit stop in the ACC. How is he as a recruiter and a coach? How fast will he continue to climb up the coaching ranks?

Coach: Cort Dennison

Title: Outside Linebackers Coach

Salary: 2 years, $550,000

Age: 29

Alma Mater: Washington / Louisville

- Dennison was a linebacker for the Malamutes that graduated from the program in 2011 with a communications degree. He was all conference in academics throughout his career with Washington. Graduated with a master’s degree in sports administration at Louisville while coaching in 2015.

- He’s an extremely fast riser up the coaching ranks as he’s come this far in just six short years. Started off as an high school assistant in the state of Washington in 2012. Now he’s the outside linebackers coach at Oregon in 2018. It’s crazy to think that he was playing college football seven years ago.

- Has experience in coaching special teams, secondary, and inside linebackers through his short career.

- Is a part of the Bobby Petrino coaching tree as he got his college coaching start in 2013 as a graduate assistant specializing in linebackers for Western Kentucky. Followed Petrino to Louisville for a four year stay.

- One of three coaches on staff with ties to direct rivals Oregon State and Washington

- Barely missed out connecting with safeties coach Keith Heyward by a year in Seattle.

Recruiting

Best Oregon recruit: Mase Funa. Four star outside linebacker recruit from long time Cali HS power Mater Dei. Eighth ranked recruit in the state, third at his position, and 45th nationally. Committed to the Ducks in April.

Best Oregon recruit 1B: Ge’Mon Eaford. Four star outside linebacker recruit from traditional Florida power Deerfield Beach HS. 23rd ranked recruit in the state of Florida, 11th at his position, and 179th nationally. The most recent commitment to the Ducks as he committed earlier this month.

Best Louisville recruit: CJ Avery. Four star safety recruit from the state of Mississippi. Ranked sixth in the state, 20th position, and 224th nationally. Expected to contribute a lot as a sophomore in 2018.

Louisville

Dennison was named the on campus recruiting coordinator during the 2015 season and then promoted to recruiting coordinator in 2016.

2015

Class ranked seventh in the ACC and 33rd nationally. Several key contributors for the 2017 season made it onto campus such as 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, Redskins OG Geron Christian (drafted third round in 2018), and Green Bay Packers CB Jaire Alexander (first round pick in 2018). DE/LB Devonte Fields was part of this class as a transfer. He currently plays for the Edmonton Eskimos in the CFL.

2016

Class ranked once again seventh in the ACC and took a slight dip to 38th nationally. The 2016 class was largely unremarkable but the Lamar Jackson show was a year long hit so there’s that.

2017

Class ranked improved to sixth in conference and rose up slightly to 34th nationally. The 2017 class saw some early action as CB Russ Yeast and Dorian Etheridge stood out as freshmen. Etheridge led the team in tackles.

Oregon

- 247 Sports has him listed as the primary recruiter for four commitments for the 2019 class. They are as follows: OLB Ge’Mon Eaford, DE Isaac Townsend , QB Cale Millen , and OLB Mase Funa. He’s also the primary recruiter for the top prospect in the country, Kayvon Thibodeaux.

- Currently ranked as 22nd ranked overall recruiter in the nation and second overall in the conference by 247 sports based off their composite formula.

Analysis

Dennison is an elite recruiter due to a various amount of factors including that he can relate as a former player and is in the almost same age range of the recruits. He has experience in both on and off field recruiting so that goes a long way. While not the recruiting coordinator for the Ducks, he’s one of the best in the conference. He’s a proven recruiter that can go toe to toe with the elite programs and can get his fair share of the best.

Final Summary

He’s the youngest on field coach for the Ducks and has a tie to the program as he served on the same Louisville staff with current safeties coach Keith Heyward. Has only two years of on field coaching experience so he might be learning on the job to start his Ducks career. It remains to be seen how he can develop the players. Fortunately, he has a lot of talent to work with at outside linebacker to start off with. The key is how will he develop the backups. The way he has rose up the coaching ranks is a good sign. Numerous coaches have praised him so there’s that. 247 Sports had him as a top 30 assistant under 30 in 2017. I really like his future prospects but it will take time for him to get promoted at such an young age. He’s served under some high profile DCs including Ducks alum Peter Sirmon (who coincidentally joined another Ducks alum Justin Wilcox at Cal), Brian Van Gorder, and now Jim Leavitt.