On Tuesday, it was reported that Dawson Odums was leaving Southern to take the head coach job at Norfolk State in a move that surprised many close to the HBCU football world.
Southern is a high-profile job and should attract quality candidates and interest from coaches around the country at all levels of football. Whoever assumes the position will take over a group that has played for the SWAC championship two of the last three seasons and was one win away from making a third trip to the conference title game.
Here are some coaches the Jaguars might consider replacing Odums with:
Quinton Morgan – Langston – Head coach
In only his fifth season as a head football coach at any level, Morgan has led the Langston program to a 38-8 record and three conference championships, including the inaugural Sooner Athletic Conference title. Under Morgan’s leadership, Langston has gone an astounding 33-2 in conference games since he took over as head coach during the 2015-16 season.
T.C. Taylor – Jackson State – Tight ends coach
Taylor features an HBCU football lineage as a one-time wide receiver and quarterback at Jackson State where he finished runner-up to then-Ole Miss quarterback Eli Manning for the 2001 Conerly Trophy, presented to Mississippi’s top college football player.
After a brief professional football career in the NFL and overseas, he worked his way up from Coahoma Community College in Mississippi to Texas Southern before landing at North Carolina Central. At NCCU as offensive coordinator, Taylor orchestrated a group that ranked among the top-5 in the MEAC in points per game, total offense and rushing offense.
Taylor, who returned to this alma mater to join the offensive staff in 2019, was named interim head coach when the school parted ways with then-head coach John Hendrick. Taylor was considered a strong candidate for the job before the school ultimately hired Deion Sanders.
Jerry Mack – Tennessee – Running backs coach
This name is familiar to those within the HBCU world. The last time anyone saw Mack roaming the sideline, he was the head coach at North Carolina Central. In four seasons at NCCU, Mack led the Eagles to at least a share of three consecutive MEAC championships and a berth in the 2016 Celebration Bowl. He compiled a 31-15 record during his time at North Carolina Central and was named the 2016 HBCU Football Coach of the Year.
Mack then spent two seasons as offensive coordinator and assistant head coach at Rice before accepting a job as running backs coach at Tennesee.
Jabbar Juluke – Louisiana – Assistant head coach and running backs coach
Juluke is well-known around The Bluff as a standout Southern safety in the early 1990s playing a big role on the Jaguars’ 1993 Black National Championship team.
After his stint at Southern, Juluke developed himself into one of the best running back coaches in America working with the likes of Leonard Fournette and Derrius Guice at LSU. After a stint at Texas Tech where he helped the Red Raiders average 140.9 years per game in 2017, Juluke moved to Louisiana where he helped the Ragin’ Cajuns establish a top-30 rushing offense. In 2019, Juluke was named Running Backs Coach of the Year by Football Scoop.
High-profile ex-NFL player
There seems to be a developing movement around the prospect of former pro football players leading HBCU programs.
Deion Sanders’ success and elevation of the Jackson State program and Tennessee State hiring Eddie George signaled a shift in the belief that Black colleges could quickly bring notoriety and an immediate financial windfall with such move.
Sanders recently suggested that other Pro Football Hall Famers such as Ray Lewis and Ed Reed would consider a job if there was mutual interest.
Lewis expressed a desire to coach. And Reed was named chief of staff at Miami in 2020.