Rutgers has hired Houston receivers coach Drew Mehringer as its new offensive coordinator, coach Chris Ash told SI.com on Sunday. Mehringer, 28, is considered one of the country’s sharp young offensive minds and the top protégé of Houston head coach Tom Herman.
“He’s the brightest young coach in America and is more than ready to run his own offense,” Herman said on Sunday.
Mehringer went directly from his role as a graduate assistant coach at Ohio State to the co-offensive coordinator and play caller for James Madison in 2014, where he forged his reputation. In one season, he helped turn Georgia Tech transfer Vad Lee into one of the most dominant quarterbacks in the FCS, setting JMU records in yards (4,288), touchdowns (30) and total offense (4,288). Perhaps the most notable quality of Mehringer’s offense at JMU was the pace, as 37 of JMU’s 70 scoring drives lasted less than two minutes.
Mehringer returned to Houston to work with Herman, his long-time mentor last season. Mehringer played quarterback for Herman at Rice before injuries cut short his career and followed Herman to both Iowa State and Ohio State as a graduate assistant coach. Houston went 12-1 in Herman’s first season as a head coach and will play Florida State in the Peach Bowl. Mehringer brings an expertise in the high-tempo, wide open and quarterback-run heavy system that helped turn Herman into one of the country’s most respected offensive minds. Herman and Ash are close friends, and Herman gave Mehringer a strong recommendation for the job.
“Although we are extremely sad to see Drew go, especially me given our history and relationship, we know that Chris Ash and Rutgers is getting an unbelievable teacher, coach, recruiter and mentor,” Herman said.
Mehringer is viewed as a key hire for Ash, the former defensive coordinator at Ohio State. He needs a strong offensive leader to compliment his defensive expertise. Mehringer earned a strong reputation at Ohio State, James Madison and Houston for a poise and maturity that belied his years. At Houston, he was considered one of the staff’s best recruiters and an expert at social media.
“Drew is a rising star in the profession,” Ash said Sunday. “He is a very intelligent guy with a creative offensive mind. He’s been around explosive offenses and winning programs. He will do a great job caring for and developing our players.”
Herman said a search for a new receivers coach at Houston will begin immediately and that they’ll be able to attract “some of the finest candidates in the country.”