2021 NFL Draft prospects who will benefit from a coaching change

Sometimes a new coach is exactly what a prospect needs to succeed. PFN draft analyst AJ Schulte looks at 2021 NFL Draft prospects who will shine with a new coach.

Sometimes, all it takes is a difference in coaching. We all saw the jump LSU took with Joe Brady at the helm of the offense. Big programs such as Oklahoma and USC benefited from a change at the coordinator position as well last year. Good coaching can make all the difference for prospects to build their talents and become NFL-caliber players. Who are some prospects for the 2021 NFL Draft that will benefit from a coaching change?

Note: Because I have already looked at transfers in a separate piece, I will not include any new transfers on this list. This will feature players established at a university with a new coach at the helm. 

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Who will benefit from 2020 college football coaching changes

Offense

Miami TE Brevin Jordan with new OC Rhett Lashlee

The Miami Hurricanes offense hasn’t had an exemplary showing in several years and has lacked consistency throughout. A new and bright OC enters the mix in Rhett Lashlee from SMU. Lashlee is an experienced coach who before his resurgence at SMU, was the OC for Auburn in 2013 when they narrowly lost in the national title game that year.

Lashlee’s up-tempo offense, combined with the playmaking ability of new transfer QB D’Eriq King will give plenty of opportunities for Brevin Jordan. SMU TE Kylen Granson had 43 catches, 721 yards, and nine touchdowns while competing with James Proche and Reggie Roberson last year. With the departures of Jeff Thomas and KJ Osborn, Jordan emerges as the primary target returning to the team. Immense potential is there for Jordan to post huge numbers and enjoy a breakout season.

Related | 2021 NFL Draft: The unlimited potential of Miami tight end Brevin Jordan

Mississippi State RB Kylin Hill with new HC Mike Leach

The hiring of Mike Leach made waves across the internet – partly because of his eccentricity and also because of his offensive mind going up against SEC defenses. One beneficiary of the wackiest 2020 college football coaching changes will be RB Kylin Hill, who will be the feature back of the MSU offense this season.

Hill is an exceptional runner with excellent balance and power with good acceleration to make big plays happen in a hurry. What is relatively unknown about Hill is his ability as a receiver, which is critical for NFL evaluations in RBs nowadays. Leach’s last two RBs – James Williams and Max Borghi – each had over 100 career catches with both having 80+ their final seasons with Leach.

Related | 2021 NFL Draft: Ranking the Top 10 running backs in the class

Texas QB Sam Ehlinger with new OC Mike Yurcich

Texas has been searching for an offensive presence for years with middling quarterback play since Colt McCoy. Sam Ehlinger has provided a solid level of play in his career but hasn’t taken that next step to being a great quarterback.

New offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich is a proven quarterback developer in his own right, presiding over the pass-happy offenses of Mason Rudolph and Justin Fields in his career. Yurcich will likely incorporate more looks from Ryan Day’s Ohio State offense, which, when paired with the weapons Texas has on offense, should help Ehlinger develop as a potential NFL quarterback.

Florida State WR Tamorrion Terry with new HC Mike Norvell

Norvell, in my opinion, will be one of the best 2020 college football coaching changes, if not the best outright. Norvell is known as a running back guru but the Memphis passing game has had its fair share of success over the years. Part of that success has come in their ability to develop players as receivers. Anthony Miller, Damonte Coxie, Tony Pollard, and Antonio Gibson all benefitted from Norvell and company’s ingenuity.

Terry is a height/weight/speed monster at receiver and is extremely talented in his own right, but Norvell and his staff can take his abilities to the next level. In a talented receiver class, expect Terry to make serious noise and his draft stock to explode.

Related | 2021 NFL Draft: FSU’s Terry a scary good first-round talent

Cal QB Chase Garbers with new OC Bill Musgrave

Musgrave’s career has been largely up and down at the NFL level, but his ability to teach and develop quarterbacks at the NFL level has been proven. Musgrave tutored Matt Schaub at Virginia, Michael Vick and Matt Ryan in Atlanta, Nick Foles in Philly, and helped Derek Carr reach his peak in 2016.

Now he gets the chance to work at the collegiate level on a Cal team with plenty of talent, notably QB Chase Garbers. Garbers had Cal undefeated for the beginning portion of the season but suffered an injury before bouncing back at the end of the season. Garbers is an intriguing playmaker. With no clear QB behind Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields, Garbers could make some noise with Musgrave at the helm.

Boston College RB David Bailey with new OC Frank Cignetti

Don’t look now, but Boston College has another talented running back in the mix next year. Bailey was instrumental in replacing AJ Dillon in games he was hurt in last season as well as the bowl game. Bailey tallied 844 rushing yards and 7 touchdowns last year. He’s 240 pounds and powerful, but also a good athlete in the open field as well.

The benefit is new OC Frank Cignetti, who I believe is one of the most underrated amongst the group of 2020 college football coaching changes. Cignetti has worked in the college and NFL ranks for years, working with talented QBs and RBs throughout. Cignetti is most known for working with RBs Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen at Cal, as well as Dion Lewis at Pitt. Cignetti is an experienced and talented play-caller who will help bring stability and development to Jeff Hafley’s new Boston College squad.

Honorable Mentions:

UNLV RB Charles Williams with new HC Marcus Arroyo

Arkansas RB Rakeem Boyd with new HC Sam Pittman

Old Dominion WR Eric Kumah with new HC Ricky Rahne

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