When the LSU Tigers failed to land Lincoln Riley, who took a huge bag to coach USC, they moved swiftly and hired then-Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly. Some questioned the fit because of demographics, as Kelly has coached at places like Cincinnati and in South Bend, Indiana. He’s a middle America guy.
Competing and recruiting in the SEC and the South period, is a whole different animal. Kelly will be competing against powerhouses such as Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Texas A&M, Auburn and a host of others, vying for the services of elite student-athletes. And while Kelly has long been a successful coach and recruiter, he’s never ventured into the shark-infested waters of the SEC’s recruiting battles.
— Andre Anthony🎈 (@DreAnthony7) December 7, 2021
With Kelly knowing this and not having many of his assistants follow him to “The Bayou” as offensive coordinator Tommy Reese and others chose to stay back in South Bend with new Fighting Irish head coach Marcus Freeman, Kelly had to make some moves and fast with the early signing day on Dec. 15 and national signing day on Feb. 2.
Two-Time National Recruiter Of The Year Comes Home
Enter Frank Wilson, former head coach of UTSA and then head coach of McNeese State. Wilson will become Kelly’s associate head coach.
— LSU Football (@LSUfootball) December 7, 2021
Former Tigers running back Leonard Fournette approves of the hiring and took to Twitter to express his excitement.
“Wait this is probably the most important key to LSU, when I tell you the best running back coach I’ve had on all levels, I’ll be back in Death Valley more ….
Wait this is probably the most important key to LSU, when I tell you the best running back coach I’ve had on all levels, I’ll be back in Death Valley more……… https://t.co/4dzioCBa4i
— 7⃣ Leonard Fournette (@_fournette) December 7, 2021
Wilson Is A Native Of Nawlins: He Knows The State Better Than Anyone
Kansas City Chiefs player Honey Badger is ecstatic …
I’m happy for coach and his family!! Also I am happy for our fans and the great state of Louisiana because I know he will not let some of this state best talents leave! He will also find a few diamonds in the rough that you may have never heard of. He’s one of the best! https://t.co/Rpyt5kTjjy
— Tyrann Mathieu (@Mathieu_Era) December 7, 2021
Wilson was born and raised in Louisiana. A graduate of St. Augustine High School, he began his high school coaching career at state power Edna Karr. Here is where Wilson began to show an eye for identifying talent.
Wilson knows what it takes to keep the in-state talent from venturing across state lines. His job will be to rebuild some of those fragile relationships across the state to keep those talented four- and five-star players home. Lately, schools like Alabama have come in and consistently gone on all-out shopping sprees in enemy territory.
That can’t happen if the “Bayou Bengals” wanna compete for SEC and national championships like they did just two seasons ago.
This Isn’t His First Rodeo In Baton Rouge:
From 2010-15, Wilson was the assistant head coach, running backs coach and recruiting coordinator under Les Miles. He recruited players like the aforementioned Fournette (Bucs), Jarvis Landry (Browns), Donte Jackson (Panthers), Devin White (Bucs), Tyrann Mathieu (Chiefs), Deion Jones (Falcons), Jalen Mills (Patriots), Greedy Williams (Browns), Arden Key (Niners), Darrel Williams (Chiefs), and a host of other three-, four- and five-star talents have called Baton Rouge after he sold them on staying home.
Head Coaching Experience
At the beginning of the 2019 college football season, there were just 14 African-American head coaches out of the 130 schools in the NCAA’s Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). Frank Wilson was one of them. The 48-year-old coached the UTSA Roadrunners for four seasons in Conference USA, so he’s had plenty of top dawg experience and will be also be a valuable sounding board for Kelly as far as football decisions are concerned.
Wilson Could Be The Key Piece To Keep Arch Manning In State
His pull is unique and his stronghold on Louisiana recruiting is like an iron fist. This is the most influential and important hiring Kelly a Northeasterner/Midwesterner with a fake Southern accent will make during his tenure in Death Valley.
In Louisiana there’s a family that goes by the name Manning. The father Archie was the star QB for the Saints, his sons Cooper, Peyton and Eli all played for Isidore-Newman high school. Cooper’s son Arch, the No. 1 ranked player in the class of 2023, stars there currently.
— TruChampions (@tru_champions) December 4, 2021
With Wilson being a master recruiter you have to believe he’s got a puncher’s chance to pull in the 6-4 gunslinger. He could sell Arch on charting a different path and being the first Manning to stay home for school.
Ole Miss and Tennessee will be in the fight because of the family’s previous history with each school. But at least the Tigers have a haymaker shot at landing a do-it-all, possibly generational signal caller. One in the mold of 2019 Heisman winner and 2020 national champion Joe Burrow. Or Arch’s legendary Super Bowl uncles Peyton and Eli.
— Josh Tapia (@TheJoshTapia) June 7, 2021
Style Of Play Is Perfect Match
Arch fits Brian Kelly’s pro-style offense like a glove. Just maybe the Bayou Bengals can creep in the late night hour and make the steal. Adding Wilson to the mix definitely increases their chances and is another notch in Brian Kelly’s belt as a trail blazer in helping to elevate the profile of qualified Black coaches.
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