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I wanted to take a look at a couple of coordinators on either side of the ball at the Group of 5 level who are doing amazing things under the radar. Don’t be shocked to see these guys in bigger positions sooner rather than later.
Andrew Sowder, OC, Kent State
Sowder is a guy that I have long admired for his creativity on offense. He’s now been the OC for four seasons under head coach Sean Lewis and has taken what was a completely inept attack and made it one of the most potent in the nation. Dustin Crum was one of the most underappreciated players in the country over the past couple of seasons. In 31 games from 2019-2021 (KSU only played 4 games in 2020), he threw for over 7,000 yards and 52 touchdowns to go along with 1,650 yards and 22 scores on the ground. The Golden Flashes have been in the top five nationally in both total offense and rushing offense in the past two seasons, and it’s honestly a bit of a shock that no Power 5 programs have tried to bring him in.
Willy Korn, OC, Coastal Carolina
The Chanticleers have been one of the best stories in college football in the past couple of seasons, and a lot of that has to do with their elite offense, lead by Korn, who has had the title of offensive coordinator since 2019. In 2021, they averaged more than 40 points per game while quarterback Grayson McCall broke the NCAA record for passing efficiency in a single season. One of the things that impresses you the most when watching Coastal on the offensive side of the ball is how balanced they are. Yes, McCall is an outstanding quarterback, but they run the ball really well too, last year averaging nearly 230 yards per game. I could see him being a very hot commodity.
David Reeves, DC, UAB
Since the rebirth of the UAB program in 2017, Reeves has quietly turned the Blazers defense into one of the consistently best in the country. They’ve finished in the top 20 of total defense in each of the past four seasons, buoyed by being stout against the run. UAB rode that defense to three straight division titles and two CUSA titles between 2018-2020. He’s a little older than some of the other guys on this list, but he’s proven that he can coach with the best of them.
Doug Belk, DC, Houston
While this 2022 is only his second season as defensive coordinator at Houston, Belk has already made a big impact on the Cougars. They’ve gone from being 118th nationally in total defense in 2019 to finishing 2021 as the sixth-best defense, giving up just over 300 yards per game. He uses a ton of different exotic looks, bringing a variety of blitzes and leaving his corners on an island. He’s a guy that will be a coordinator for a big-time program in the very near future.