In December, the Bayou Bengals surprised most of the college football world when they hired Notre Dame chief Brian Kelly to fill his vacant head coaching position. It was a coup because Notre Dame is already elite work and the program is one of the most popular in the world.
Surrounding his staff, Kelly adds Cortez Hankton to manage the WR and passing game
Kelly has made major hires for LSU, none greater than McNeese State head coach and former LSU assistant Frank Wilson. He is a recruiting guru and has strong ties to the South.
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The addition of Cortez Hankton might actually be the second biggest hire he’s made. Hankton hails from New Orleans, and just like Wilson, he also played at St. Augustine High School.
Brian Kelly put Marcus Freeman in position to take over at Notre Dame and gushed about his abilities.
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Hankton received similar praise from Kelly via a Zoom conference call.
“Cortez is a terrific young coach who has developed young wide receivers everywhere he has gone. He understands what it takes to win at the highest level after spending the last seven years in the SEC. Our players will benefit from Cortez and of all he has to offer – on and off the field.This experience he brings to our program will help create a championship culture at LSU.
A black coach with championship experience
Hankton just completed a four-year stint in Athens at the University of Georgia and was a member of the Bulldogs CFP National Championship team this year. The school is the first since 1980. During his tenure, the Bulldogs won three SEC East titles, three CFP New Year’s Six Bowl games and that elusive CFP title.
He has been the passing game coordinator and wide receiver coach at UGA since 2019. The Bulldogs’ passing efficiency was the best in the SEC last season at (6.98) yards per play. He also developed wide receivers like George Pickens, Terry Godwin (Jaguars), Riley Ridley (Bears) and Super Bowl champion Mecole Hardman (Chiefs).
Hankton’s philosophy is to push the ball down: he was a dynamic receiver at Texas Southern
In 2019, Tigers offensive coordinator Joe Brady pushed the football as often as he could. This is evidenced by Joe Burrow’s record 60 touchdown passes. With the return of wide receiver Kayshon Boutte, expect Kelly to pick as the starting QB to do the same. Hankton likes to take deep shots early and often.
This aggressive style is a big reason the UGA Bulldogs won the CFP title. They’ve always been capable of running the ball, but Hankton’s innovative passing game has put them in a new stratosphere offensively in 2021. He’s ensured that two-time UGA QB Stetson Bennett can be used with simple but innovative pass concepts. . His use of the fullback of the backfield in the passing game is what sets him apart; James Cook asks.
It also has a progressive and intellectual approach to the game and welcomes player expression.
Hankton played his varsity ball at SWAC’s Texas Southern. In 2002, he set career records. For his efforts, he was named team MVP and All-SWAC in both his junior and senior seasons. He rounded out his college experience by being named FCS (Div 1-AA) Third Team and Third Team AP All-American. He spent six seasons in the NFL (2003-2008), where he was with the Jaguars, Vikings and Buccaneers.
Hankton has been just as busy off the pitch. In 2011, he created the “Black Ice Designt”, an organization that strives to increase the presence of minorities in winter sports by obtaining scholarships and funds to help with the expenses of athletes.
Just two years ago, the LSU Tigers were on top of the college football world by winning the 2019 National Championship from BFC. Led by Heisman Trophy winner and eventual No. 1 pick Joe Burrow, and a host of other first-round picks, including NFL stallions Ja’Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson and Clyde Edwards-Helaire. The Tigers, under head coach Ed Orgeron, and his three coordinators Dave Aranda (DC), Steve Ensmenger and Brady (OC/PGC) shredded teams every week.
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But everything changed in the blink of an eye, following a massive exodus from players to pros. Aranda became head coach at Baylor and Brady returned to the NFL as offensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers. All the while, Ed Orgeron was fired for his floundering record and his womanizing ways.
Brian Kelly seems to like the black coach and Hankton’s hire is another home run for him and the LSU Tigers. And another stepping stone for Hankton to a coordinator position.
This rental should worry Alabama fans a bit.
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