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Coaching Carousel 2021: Grading the Coaching Hires

A look at our grades on some of the recent hires around the country

The coaching carousel has been very active this year as over 25 coaches have either been fired, resigned, or moved on to new jobs. With still over a half dozen jobs still open, the break neck news cycle is finally slowing down, but there are still moves to be made.

Today we are going to grade out the new hires, including coaching changes that impact Boston College, and those that do not. 

Impacting Boston College

Marcus Freeman- Notre Dame: There have been a handful of moves that could arguably be the "best hire" of this offseason, but I'd argue that Freeman tops the list. An authentic, well liked coach that has the respect of his locker room and recruits, Freeman is a slam dunk, and at only 35 years of age the sky is the limit. It's hard to imagine a hire that could be seen as an upgrade over Brian Kelly, a coach that brought the Fighting Irish to multiple playoff births, but Freeman is that guy. Absolutely homerun hire, that could lead ND to a national title. Grade: A

Brent Bry- Virginia Tech: The former Penn State defensive coordinator will look to bring the glory days of Frank Beamer back to Virginia Tech. But the Hokies have high expectations, and are asking quite a lot out of someone who has never been a head coach. This hire has good upside, but is also very risky. Grade: C+

Jim Mora- UConn: Credit to the Huskies, they brought in a coach with at least some history of success. With a record of 46-30 certainly the Huskies could have done worse. However, Mora has no experience trying to rebuild a program that is in such poor shape, UConn is a mess, and it is unclear how he will recruit in the northeast. It's going to take a special talent to get the Huskies from being one of the worst programs in FBS, can Mora do it? Probably not, but he has all it takes to give it a go. Grade B-

Don Brown- UMass: A coach that at least gets what UMass needs, Brown is probably the best option for the Minutemen. 43-19 during his last trip through Amherst, Brown won't make UMass a national presence, and isn't a spring chicken anymore, but if anyone could get them out of the doldrums it's him. Grade: A-

Duke- Still open, but the buzz has been around Clemson OC Tony Elliott. His struggles to start this season getting the Tigers offense going, and adjusting an offense around DJ Uiagalelei was concerning, but he did get it going the second half of the season. The Blue Devils don't bring in the blue chippers that the Tigers do. Don't like this hire if this comes to be. Potential Grade: C-


Other Hires of Note:

Brian Kelly- LSU. Culturally this fit is bizarre to say the least. And with the contract he landed expectations are going to be astronomical. But the man can coach, and he just brought in Frank Wilson who is the best recruiter in Louisiana. This hire could be a homerun or a gigantic failure. I'll go with the former. Grade B

Lincoln Riley- USC. Love this hire, USC gets their man, and the Trojans could be heading back to the top. Grade: A

Mario Cristobal- Miami. The hiring process was a complete disaster, as the Hurricanes flirted with the Oregon coach while Manny Diaz was still out recruiting. It looks like the program is serious about being an elite program, possibly also bringing in Clemson AD Dan Radakovich in as well. Cristobal won't necessarily have to rebuild with Tyler Van Dyke looking to be a real stud at QB. Grade A-

Brent Venables- Oklahoma. Clemson's vaunted defensive coordinator finally gets his shot with the team he has experience with under Bob Stoops. But he gets that "first time coach, long time coordinator" rub, which still presents a lot of risk, especially at a program like OU where success isn't just expected it's demanded. Grade C+

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