Tennessee dismissed running backs coach Robert Gillespie, who had been with the program since Butch Jones’ first season in 2012. Gillespie should be high on the list for at least one Big 12 program.
Oklahoma State is still in the market for a 10th assistant coach. Head coach Mike Gundy should take a hard look at Gillespie to fill out his staff.
Gillespie coached at Oklahoma State in 2009 and 2010. Even though the Cowboys are an air raid offense, Gillespie coached three running backs to All-Big 12. Kendall Hunter ranked No. 9 nationally with 1,548 rushing yards and earned All-America status under Gillespie’s tutelage.
He was just as good at Tennessee. Even though the Vols program fell apart, Gillespie helped coach Alvin Kamara, Jalen Hurd and John Kelly into arguably the best players on the roster.
Gillespie is best known for his recruiting acumen. He has been the primary recruiter for 13 4-star recruits during his time as a coach. That includes running back Joseph Randle and cornerback Justin Gilbert at Oklahoma State.
“Recruiting against Tennessee, there’s guys that when you go into a house, or you followed them into a house, you know what they have done in respect to recruiting,” Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt told SEC Country, regarding why he intended to keep Gillespie on staff initially.
Oklahoma State is recruiting better lately, but still trail behind several other Big 12 programs. The Cowboys reeled in the No. 33 national class in 2018. That ranked behind Texas, Oklahoma, Baylor and TCU.
Gillespie helped recruit some of the best classes in Oklahoma State history. The two classes he primarily recruited – 2010 and 2011 – both ranked in the top 30. The 2011 class finished out at No. 25. It still sits as the best class in the Gundy era, and helped set up the magical 2011 season.
Granted, Gundy might not want to hire another offensive coach. John Wozniak has been successful as running back coach. Five of the nine assistants on Gundy’s staff are already offensive assistants.
However, Gillespie has proven value as both an assistant coach and recruiter. Gundy should strongly consider adding Gillespie as his 10th assistant coach.
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