The Texas Longhorns are now without any assistants from Tom Herman’s staff after the news broke on Sunday that head coach Steve Sarkisian will not retain wide receivers coach Andre Coleman on Sunday, marking the second exit in a week after running backs coach Stan Drayton accepted the head-coaching job with the Temple Owls.
A former Kansas State receiver and standout return man, Coleman spent six years as a coach with the Wildcats, including serving as the offensive coordinator in 2018. When Bill Snyder retired and Chris Klieman took over in Manhattan, Coleman joined Herman’s staff as an analyst, then took over as the interim position coach when Drew Mehringer was fired and Corby Meekins was reassigned fired following the regular season.
Coleman’s tryout during bowl preparation and the blowout win over Utah helped him land the job permanently and Sarkisian kept him on staff for the 2021 season after trying to hire him while he was coaching in Atlanta and at Alabama.
“He’s somebody that I had actually talked to at my last two stops about potentially joining us,” Sarkisian said when he introduced his staff. “I wasn’t the final say, so that didn’t quite work out, but I’ve had a prior relationship with Andre over probably the last three or four years.”
At the time, Coleman got the benefit of the doubt for subpar recruiting results in the 2021 class because Herman was known for injecting himself into which recruits received offers, resulting in Texas inexplicably failing to offer Jaxon Smith-Njigba, who emerged as a star this season for Ohio State.
With Sarkisian avoiding micromanagement of Coleman as a position coach and a recruiter, issues for Coleman during the 2021 season and with the 2022 recruiting class were too much for Sarkisian to ignore.
Injuries to Jordan Whittington, Troy Omeire, and Jaden Alexis hurt the receiving corps, but the larger issue was the lack of development at the position.
Joshua Moore was unable to capitalize on a promising 2020 season, showing the same inconsistency that dogged him as a redshirt sophomore, but the most damaging development was Coleman’s inability to hold Moore accountable, leading to a practice altercation with Sarkisian that ultimately led to Moore entering the NCAA transfer portal.
Coleman managed to coax flashes out of Marcus Washington, including seven catches for 70 yards against Baylor and five catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns against Kansas. However, inconsistency plagued Washington, too — he finished the season with two catches for 24 yards in the final two games.
Kelvontay Dixon never even managed any real flashes after his long touchdown catch as a true freshman in the Alamo Bowl, ending the 2021 season with nine catches for 100 yards and a disastrous missed blocking assignment on a screen pass late against Oklahoma State.
By the end of the season, there were three wide receivers listed on the depth chart with a combined one catch for seven yards.
But even while Coleman’s struggles to develop the wide receivers on campus was extremely disappointing, his performance as a recruiter was even worse.
Coleman did manage to land Spearman speedster Brenen Thompson, but Texas only signed two wide receivers in the class, including the nation’s No. 1,418 player, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, while losing commitments from four-star prospect Armani Winfield and five-star prospect Evan Stewart. Texas also missed on local product Caleb Burton, who signed with Ohio State.
With Buckeyes quarterback transfer Quinn Ewers heading to the Forty Acres, there’s an increased urgency to surround the star prospect with wide receivers who can excel in Sarkisian’s scheme and the 2022 recruiting class is a strong indication that Coleman is not the coach capable of achieving that goal.
Perhaps he’ll find a soft landing spot on Drayton’s staff at Temple.