The Texas Longhorns are expected to move quickly to fill the cornerbacks coach position vacated by Jason Washington on Friday by hiring Jay Valai from the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, according to ESPN’s Adam Rittenburg.
The hire is imminent enough that Rutgers removed his bio from their website and congratulatory tweets started to come in, including from Metroplex trainer Clay Mack, who had high praise for Valai.
BIG BIG CONGRATS to my Guy Jay Valai on being named the new Cornerback coach at the University of Texas . One of the SMARTEST defensive back minds that I’ve ever been around. Unbelievable hire for UT ... Congrats my man!@JayValai— Clay Mack Skills (@ClayMackSkills) January 10, 2020
Valai immediately emerged as the leading candidate after new Texas defensive coordinator Chris Ash hired him last February from the Kansas City Chiefs, where Valai spent two seasons, where he served as a defensive quality control coach. Prior to that stint in the NFL, Valai spent two years as a quality control coach at Georgia, including in 2017 when the Bulldogs played for the national championship.
During his time in Athens, he did spend some time on the road recruiting when Georgia made coaching changes, similar to the situation at Texas when analysts Andre Coleman and Jeremiah Georgia joined the on-field coaching staff to aid recruiting efforts before the early signing period.
From Colleyville, Valai played defensive back for Wisconsin, where he was a three-year starter and two-time All-Big Ten selection. Valai then spent three years as a trainer in Southlake before he joined the Georgia support staff. So he has connections to the Metroplex and could help the Longhorns with recruiting in that region.
According to Rittenburg, Valai is known as a strong recruiter and for developing players well, but with only one year of experience as an on-field coach at any level, he doesn’t have a large body work. As a result, there is some risk with this potential hire with Herman trusting the judgement of Ash, who was fired after working with Valai for only four games.
If Valai proves him a rising star, however, that risk could pay off in a big way for the Longhorns.