One of the vacant coaching positions FSU is looking to fill that very few seem to know anything about is who exactly will be the EDGE/Defensive Ends Coach. Much has been said about every other position coach on the staff, but Willie Taggart has kept this one close to the vest.
These are likely candidates I’ve heard discussed combined with my speculation based on relationships and what makes sense
Ron Burton, Mark Snyder and Eric Mathies are the three names that fit the criteria of Taggart’s other targets and hires; they’ve either coached previously with him, or just as importantly, new defensive coordinator Harlan Barnett. It would be odd if Taggart’s new DC didn’t have some of his influence on who is hired for this position.
Ron Burton is a 25-year coaching veteran who reminds me a lot of Odell Haggins. This was his fifth season at Michigan State and he apparently has a good relationship with Barnett.
Out of the gate, his impact on the Spartans’ defensive line was made with linemen earning All-Big Ten recognition nine times, including three-time first-team selection Shilique Calhoun. Four Spartan defensive linemen who Burton has coached at MSU played in the NFL last season (Calhoun, Joel Heath, Marcus Rush and Lawrence Thomas). In addition, Malik McDowell was drafted in the second round (No. 35 overall) by Seattle in the 2017 NFL Draft, while Calhoun was selected in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft by Oakland.
One of the attributes that made Barnett an attractive hire for FSU was how well the Michigan State defense did against the run. Since Burton’s first year, the Spartans have ranked in the NCAA FBS top 11 four of his five seasons.
Originally, he coached the entire defensive line, switching exclusively to defensive tackles this past fall. He is well-equipped to take over the defensive ends position.
Mark Snyder is another coaching veteran who has 12 seasons as either a head coach or defensive coordinator under his belt. After spending his first two seasons as the linebackers coach at Michigan State, Snyder switched to defensive ends in 2017. He also is the special teams coordinator.
Snyder served as the defensive coordinator at Texas A&M for the three seasons (2012-14) and had eight previous years of coaching experience in the Big Ten (Minnesota, 1997-2000; Ohio State, 2001-04). Snyder was the head coach at Marshall for five seasons (2005-09). He has coached on multiple national championship and conference championship staffs during his career.
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A few notable players who Snyder has worked with as defensive coordinator at Texas A&M include first-team All-American Damontre Moore, third-round NFL Draft pick by the New York Giants in 2013, and Myles Garrett who set Texas A&M and SEC records for sacks by a freshman with 11.5 sacks. Garrett eventually was drafted No. 1 overall by the Cleveland Browns.
Lastly, Eric Mathies from FAU has ties to Taggart going back to WKU. Currently he is the DL coach and recruiting coordinator at FAU. He is the least sexy of the hires from a “name” standpoint, but has produced at every stop.
Mathies coached Quanterus Smith, who earned All-America honors as well as Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year recognition for WKU in 2012, totaling 12.5 sacks, which ranked third nationally. That WKU defense led the conference in sacks, tackles-for-loss, total defense, rushing defense and pass efficiency defense. He had similar success at USF in 2015 with the Bulls ranking No. 13 in tackles for loss, No. 26 in sacks, and No. 31 nationally against the run.
All of this without the talent that is at FSU.
The qualifier for him is his experience as a recruiting coordinator.
He has been the recruiting coordinator at his last three stops. He has overseen the top recruiting class in the conference he coached in two of the five years he’s held that position and has been recognized as Sun Belt Recruiter of the Year while Scout named him one of the top recruiters in the nation.
If hired, he’d be one of many on Taggart’s staff with recruiting coordinator experience which again will help GM David Kelly reorganize the Seminoles recruiting efforts.
As I have stated previously in other articles breaking down resumes of Taggart’s staff and targets, any time you can get former coordinators as well as guys who are well-versed in recruiting, it’s a good pickup for assistants. These three have experience in recruiting and not just developing talent, but All-Americans. They should fit in well with the current staff and could come in immediately to give a boost in recruiting.
Article Originally Appeared on Gridiron Now: http://gridironnow.com/three-candidates-fsus-defensive-ends-assistant-coach-position/