The other side of the coin on signing day is that within days afterwards you see assistant and especially position coaches fired or move on to another job. Those that stay through signing day are the ones that have key relationships with recruits and the head coach doesn’t want to have anything change at the last minute.
But after signing day…
Rumors about WR Coach Bobby Engram swirled on signing day. That he was one of three candidates for the WR Coach with the Baltimore Ravens. Naturally Head Coach Paul Chryst claimed not to know anything about it when asked at the signing day press conference. The question had to be asked, even if the non-denial was fully expected.
Under Engram’s watch, receiver Devin Street earned all-league honors each of the past two seasons and ended his career with the most career receptions in Panthers history.
This past season, Engram helped freshman Tyler Boyd turn into a dynamic offensive weapon.
Despite not playing receiver primarily at Clairton High School, Boyd finished his first collegiate season with 85 catches for 1,174 yards and seven touchdowns.
Engram’s most important contributions to the Panthers, though, might have come as a recruiter. He played a key role in securing many of the 2014 prospects that signed Wednesday with Pitt, including serving as the lead recruiter for four-star wide receiver Adonis Jennings. He also was the lead recruiter for Boyd in 2013.
This is an obvious blow to Pitt. The recruiting issue is obvious. On a staff without a lot of recruiting strength and connections, Engram proved to be the coach who brought in playmakers.
But his actual coaching the wide receivers position was why he is being hired for the same job in the NFL. It turned out that Engram knew how to communicate and teach the position. Devin Street went from tantalizing potential to sure-handed, great route-running receiver who could go deep or be a possession receiver. His development of Tyler Boyd was outstanding.
For Engram, this is a no-brainer. NFL money is going to be far bigger for a position coach than at just about any college equivalent (yes, I’m sure you can find a few exceptions with the big, big spending programs). It’s a jump in profile for any young, ambitious coach wanting to climb the ladder. For him, I can do nothing but congratulate him, thank him for what he has done for Pitt the last two years and wish him well.
Engram was a first time position coach when hired. He was fairly recently retired from being a journeyman NFL WR, and only began his coaching career. He was on the San Francisco 49ers staff as an offensive assistant. He came into contact with 49ers QB Coach Geep Chryst — one of Coach Paul Chryst’s brothers.
I don’t suppose there’s another young offensive assistant on the 49ers staff Geep could recommend? Then again, Geep also got to know Matt House when he was with the Carolina Panthers, so…
No idea who or where Pitt will turn to for the position. Whoever it is has a big job to fill. Pitt needs a guy who can recruit, but with the talent at and coming to the position he better know how to do something with the players.