Notre Dame had one more opening on it’s 2017 coaching staff that has now been reportedly filled. Notre Dame is set to hire DelVaughn Alexander sometime between now and National Signing Day after that swift background check process allows Notre Dame to officially announce the hiring. Notre Dame officially unofficially hired Clark Lea as linebackers coach earlier this week.
And with that, we may just have the 2017 Notre Dame football coaching staff. That is, of course, once official word on the defensive line coach is announced although all reports indicate that position will be filled by Mike Elston with Lea on board to coach linebackers. That would mean that the odd man out is Keith Gilmore, but again, there’s been no official word from Notre Dame here.
- QB: Vacant but potentially could be filled by Tommy Rees once the 10th assistant coach position is approved
- RB: Autry Denson (holdover)
- WR: DelVaughn Alexander (new hire)
- TE: Chip Long (new hire)
- OL: Harry Hiestand (holdover)
- Offensive Coordinator: Long
- DL: Mike Elston (holdover)
- LB: Clark Lea (new hire)
- DB: Todd Lyght (holdover)
- Defensive Coordinator: Mike Elko (new hire)
- Special Teams: Brian Polian (new hire)
That’s four holdovers and five new assistants for Notre Dame. Like the rest of the new hires that we have profiled, both Lea and DelVaughn appear to be great additions to the Notre Dame coaching staff for a variety of reasons.
Both Alexander and Lea have familiarity with the new coordinators systems. Lea coached linebackers at Wake Forest this past season under Mike Elko. With Elko reportedly bringing his 4-2-5 system with him, having a coach familiar with what is required of the linebackers in his scheme is a huge plus for Notre Dame.
Lea, just 35 years old, is the third Notre Dame assistant under 40 years old to be added to the staff this off-season joining Elko and Long.
Alexander coached with Chip Long on staff at Arizona State before Long moved to Memphis with Mike Norvell last year. Alexander has coached wide receivers and most recently tight ends following Long’s departure last year. Alexander brings more experience to the coaching room at a seasoned 45 years old. He also brings some serious recruiting chops – something Notre Dame will need big time over the final three weeks of this recruiting cycle.
Alexander, a Southern Cal alum, has a reputation for being a fantastic recruiter and has deep ties in California – Los Angeles specifically – after years coaching and playing in the Pac 12. With the loss of both Mike Sanford and Mike Denbrock, Notre Dame lost it’s best California recruiters in the process. Adding Alexander to the mix along with the return of Brian Polian should help off-set those losses.
It’s likely we won’t hear anything official for a few more days, but there are already reports of Lea being on the road recruiting this week once the dead period ends.
Notre Dame has been taking a beating on the recruiting front the last few weeks with decommitments from Paulson Adebo and Elijah Hicks most recently. The new assistant coaches will need to hit the recruiting trail and hit it hard as Notre Dame continues to send out new offers and put out feelers for possible late additions to the class. That starts on Thursday and Brian Polian is ready to get after it.
Cannot wait to get back on the road tomorrow to go find the next members of the Fighting Irish family!
— Brian Polian (@BrianPolian) January 12, 2017
Just how many additions they will be able to find between now and Signing Day remains to be seen. All indications, however, are this new staff has recruiting chops at least on par with their predecessors and in the case of Elko, his recruiting process should be considered a serious upgrade over those of Brian Vangorder. But that shouldn’t really surprise any one.