It was confirmed in the past week that former Oregon cornerbacks coach Donte Williams would be leaving for the same position on USC’s staff due to family reasons. While we wish Coach Williams the best of luck, it is time for head coach Mario Cristobal to select the replacement. Who could be some options for the new vacancy?
I’ll rank these options in terms of likeliness to very unlikely. Also here’s a chart that USA Today compiled for 2019 assistant salaries
1. Keith Heyward Oregon
Title: Safeties Coach
- Coach Cristobal may elect to stay from within the program and shuffle things around elsewhere by giving Heyward both the safeties and corners. It will be interesting to see if this happens, however unlikely. 2019 Salary: $600,000
2. Jalil Brown Boise State
Title: Cornerbacks Coach
- Brown has some overlap with defensive coordinator Andy Avalos while he was at BSU and has ties to the Pac-12 via his Colorado playing career. It is a tenuous tie at best since he played at Colorado while that program was in the Big 12. He also had a pro career with four different teams after leaving Colorado. He started his coaching career at Northern Arizona. 2019 Salary: $140,000
3. J.D. Williams Fresno State
Title: Cornerbacks / Pass Game Coordinator
- Williams is a graduate of Fresno State and has extensive ties to the Pac-12 via his coaching career at stops such as Utah, Cal, and Washington during the 2002-2009 seasons. He has coached as far east as Georgia State but has primarily stayed on the west coast. According to his official bio, he added pass game coordinator responsibilities on top of his defensive back duties in 2019 and just moved to cornerbacks this year. Has special teams coaching on his resume so he can help Coach Bobby Williams in that regard as well if hired. It will be tough to pry him loose as he’s an Fresno State alum and has longtime ties to Coach Tedford. 2019 Salary: $128,000
4. Demetrius Sumler San Diego State
- Sumler was retained by new Aztecs head coach and former Oregon defensive coordinator Brady Hoke as the CB coach. SDSU has a long history of sending NFL ready defensive backs so the coaching acumen is there. He also has Pac-12 ties via playing career at Colorado. Sulmer has ties to Andy Avalos as SDSU is a big MWC rival for Boise State. A native of San Diego so it might be tough to pull him from home but a nice bump in salary should do the trick. 2019 Salary: $79,572
5. Jeff Popovich Georgia Tech
Title: Cornerbacks / Defensive Specials Team Coordinator
- All sorts of ties to both Cristobal and Avalos here. He overlapped with Avalos in 2018 while serving as the cornerbacks coach for the Broncos. Like Cristobal, he’s a former Hurricane coach and player. He also has ties to Cristobal via FIU as he was there as a defensive backs coach on MC’s staff. Possesses NFL coaching experience with the Colts. Also familiar with the Pac-12 footprint as he is an Arizona native. 2019 Salary: $230,000
6. Paul Haynes Free Agent (formerly of Michigan State)
- Haynes is a free agent coach now that new Spartans head coach Mel Tucker has declined to retain a majority of the previous administration’s staff. In terms of player development, he’s very well regarded given the long standing tradition and volume of NFL defensive backs from Michigan State under his watch. He has also coached the secondary at Ohio State and developed some pros there as well. Would be a hire in a similar vein of Joe Moorhead in that he has very little ties to Oregon. 2019 Salary: $449,000
7. Roy Manning Oklahoma
- Manning has very extensive ties to the Pac-12 and is a familiar face to Oregon fans as he coached the outside linebackers at Washington State and UCLA. He’s a known name for most of the Washington State contingent of the current Oregon staff as he coached with them prior to Oklahoma. He also has experience on of the offensive side of the ball while at Michigan and Cincinnati. If hired, he would help both linebacker coaches on top of his cornerback duties. Also, the Oregon loves Wazzu assistants memes would be back up and running. 2019 Salary: $425,000
8. Rod Chance Minnesota
- Chance was a defensive analyst for the Ducks until last season when he joined Minnesota as the cornerbacks coach for them. So the familiarity angle is there. He could be the leading candidate. Chance offers not only familiarity but ties to the state of Georgia as well. 2019 Salary: $215,000
1. Terrell Buckley Ole Miss
- Chances are if you are a decent NFL cornerback, Buckley has coached you at some point in college. Buckley is probably the most accomplished player on this list as he was a standout at Florida State before a long NFL career. He returned to Florida State as a coach in 2007 under the legendary Bobby Bowden. He has ties to Oregon via newly hired OC Joe Moorhead as Buckley served under him. The east coast Donte Williams with a much more extensive resume of elite cornerback recruits. A really good player development coach as well. Flipped sides in the Egg Bowl this offseason to Ole Miss and is a Mississippi native so it will be a nearly improbable pull for Oregon. 2019 Salary: $350,000
2. Mike Reed Clemson
- One of the best secondary coaches in all of college football. He has developed a ton of NFL ready stars for Clemson over the past several years and at NC State before that. Is proven winner with two Super Bowl titles, two national championships, and a NFL Europa title on his CV. Reed would be an extremely tough pull unless some promises about his Ducks future were made as he’s coached exclusively in the East. MC would likely have to guarantee the DC job if / when Avalos leaves because Reed looks like he won’t get the DC job at Clemson unless Brent Venables leaves soon (unlikely). 2019 Salary: $496,000
3. Terry Joseph Notre Dame
Title: Defensive Pass Game Coordinator aka DB Coach
- Joseph is certainly well traveled as an assistant coach, being at Tennessee, Louisiana Tech. Nebraska, UNC, Texas A&M, and currently Notre Dame. What’s unique about him is that he didn’t play football but baseball at Northwestern State in Louisiana (hello someone to tutor Robby Ashford). He got his start in coaching in the state of Louisiana. If hired, he would bring some national ties but particularly strong ties to talent laden Louisiana as he’s a New Orleans native. It would be a boon for the Ducks who already hit the Southeast recruiting hard to begin with. He has developed a lot of good players as well at all his stops. 2019 Salary: Unknown as Notre Dame is a private institution and don’t have to release records
4. Mike Rumph Miami
- Rumph is a former Hurricane defensive back that played on the legendary 2001 Miami team that could have an argument for best team of all time. The tie to Coach Cristobal is being Miami alumni. He’s a serious player development specialist on top of being a good recruiter. He got started in the Florida HS ranks and has a couple of state titles in the most competitive region for HS football in America. He’s been at Miami for six years as an assistant so it might be hard to pull him away from home unless certain promises are made. South Florida guys are just a different breed (particularly former Canes) and it shows in Coach Cristobal. 2019 Salary: See the Terry Joseph salary tidbit above.
5. Dre Bly North Carolina
- Possibly the likeliest candidate to NOT move from this list as he’s a Tar Heel legend. He just started coaching this past season under Mack Brown so it’s not likely he’ll move so soon. Stranger things have happened but this ain’t happening I don’t think. 2019 Salary: $250,000
6. Jahmile Addae West Virginia
Title: Defensive Secondary
- The West Virginia alum has both offensive and defensive coaching on top of off field roles in his background. His ties to the Pac-12 are that he was an analyst before becoming an field coach at Arizona during the middle portion of the last decade. He previously coached at Minnesota before going back home to Morgantown. 2019 Salary: $306,000
1. Charleton Warren Georgia Defensive Backs
- The $725,000 salary is probably the non starter to any conversation on top of him being possibly groomed for a DC role down the road when Dan Lanning leaves Athens.
2. Travaris Robinson South Carolina Defensive Coordinator
- No, he’s not going to leave a DC job plus the $1.2 million salary even if its really Will Muschamp’s defense he’s running. Stop it.
3. Derrick Ansley Tennessee Defensive Coordinator
- See above and insert Jeremy Pruitt for Muschamp. 2019 Salary: $1,000,000
4. Corey Raymond LSU Defensive Backs Coach
- Good luck. Not even Alabama can convince him to leave home. He’s Bayou Bengal through and through. Excellent recruiter. 2019 Salary: $450,000
5. Karl Scott and Charles Kelly Alabama CB / Safeties
- They have the cushiest gigs in all of college football given that the secondary is Nick Saban’s baby. They just don’t have to screw it up for him. Scott makes $525,000 and Kelly makes $800,000 respectively so it’s not even justifiable for Oregon to pony up that kind of cash.
6. Travis Fisher Nebraska Defensive Backs
- He’s stuck at the hip with former Oregon “OC” Scott Frost so it’s not happening. Not to mention there was some ESD drama involving him and a recruit. The rumor was that he was leaving and the recruit suddenly left the signing ceremony in a lurch. He just signed an extension as well.