Monday, January 4, 2010
Illinois reportedly to hire Smith as assistant
By ESPN.com staff
Former UNLV assistant DeAndre Smith will become the fourth new member of Illinois' offensive staff in 2010, according to Rivals.com's Tom Dienhart.
Dienhart reports on his Twitter page that Illinois has hired Smith as its new tight ends coach, though Smith could end up overseeing the Illini running backs. Former Louisville assistant Greg Nord was named Illinois' tight ends coach in December.
An Illinois official couldn't confirm the hiring and said no announcement had been planned as of early Monday afternoon.
Smith has coached running backs at UNLV (2009), New Mexico (2008), Miami University (2005-07), Northern Illinois (2001-04) and Indiana State (1999-2000). He helped to produce standouts like New Mexico's Rodney Ferguson and Northern Illinois' Michael Turner and Garrett Wolfe.
Illinois lost its running backs coach, Reggie Mitchell, the team's recruiting coordinator, to Kansas last month. Mitchell had been the team's top recruiter in the Chicago area, though Smith has ties to Chicago and the Midwest from his time at Northern Illinois and other spots.
Head coach Ron Zook already has hired three new offensive assistants: coordinator/wide receivers coach Paul Petrino, Nord and quarterbacks coach Jeff Brohm. Offensive line coach Joe Gilbert likely will be the lone holdover from 2009.