Washington reportedly pulled off a coup today by hiring Purdue co-OC/WR coach JaMarcus Shephard as the new Wide Receivers coach. The potential move was first reported by Tom Dienhart of Purdue’s Rivals site and Dawgman was able to confirm that Shephard had accepted the job in Washington.
Shephard, 38, has proven to be one of the brightest young coaches in the country over the past 5 years for the Boilermakers and has a strong recruiting and development resume.
In back-to-back recruiting classes, Shephard managed to bring in a 4-star recruit and make him a 1st team AP All-American. Rondale Moore finished as the 49th overall pick in this latest draft by the Arizona Cardinals after just 3 years in college. David Bell is currently No. 71 overall on the PFF big board and is therefore projected as an early pick in the 3rd round. WR Milton Wright also made an honorable mention for all of the Big Ten last season.
Prior to his move to Purdue, Shephard was near Washington State for a year under Mike Leach. Shephard left before seeing the pitch, but in the class that coincided with his departure, the Cougars landed Jamire Calvin (their highest-rated rookie since 2015) as well as Travell Harris.
In a somewhat ironic twist, before Shephard was in Washington state, he was in western Kentucky. It was the school from which Washington eventually hired Junior Adams. There was technically a coach between them, so Adams didn’t directly replace Shephard there, but now Shephard replaces Adams in Washington. In college, Shephard was a D3 All-American for DePauw University and is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana.
The Huskies successfully pulling Shephard away from Purdue should help restore some confidence in DeBoer’s ability to identify and attract talent not already in his tree. Shephard is from Indiana and was interviewed at Notre Dame after coming to Seattle for an interview at UW. The Irish would hire the WR coach from Baylor and we may never know if Shephard picked UW over Notre Dame with the two on the table or if Notre Dame picked their man over Shephard. I’m sure both parties will deny being the bridesmaid.
Either way, things seem to have worked out a lot in UW’s favor. We’ll see what Shephard’s final salary is and if he gets a co-OC or passing game coordinator title with the WR coach. But there’s no doubt that DeBoer had to sell Shephard his attacking vision to bring him back to the Pacific Northwest.
Shephard’s first job will be to try to stabilize the current wide receiver room. The top rookie of 2022, Germie Bernard, pulled out of Washington last week and will head to Michigan State instead. It’s unfortunate that he didn’t want to sit down with Shephard and be sold to play for a coach who just produced multiple All-Americans. Instead, he opted to play with his high school QB for a coaching job that coached the high school 2 years ago. But it’s water under the bridge now.
Jalen McMillan and Ja’Lynn Polk previously declared their intention to stay in Washington, but Terrell Bynum did the same before he was finally transferred to USC. It’s not mandatory for a player to post on Twitter or Instagram that he’s coming back, but keeping the rest of Odunze, Tinae, Davis and Jackson around as well would give the Huskies a hugely talented young core to build with a positional coach. premium. at the bar.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see Washington looking for another receiver or two, especially now that it looks like Bernard is actually heading to Michigan State. All of Purdue’s Class of 2022 players signed in December, so a direct turnaround seems unlikely, but Washington will scour the transfer portal for additions that make sense. Arizona State transfer Junior Alexander seems like an obvious candidate to join the Huskies as a former local 4-star who played his high school ball with QB Sam Huard and WR Jabez Tinae.
As it stands, Washington lost Bynum and Racanelli to the portal and only brought in Denzel Boston. Given that UW was light on receivers to start and plays into an offense now that relies even more on the tight end, we can expect Shephard to want more depth in the play.
Time will tell ultimately, but for now it looks like the end result of Junior Adams heading to Oregon is that Washington lost Germie Bernard, but got upgraded instead. coach WR and pocketed money from the Adams buyout. It’s certainly possible that Bernard was a complete stallion from day one, but overall things appear to have gone as smoothly as possible considering UW had a coaching job on leave for their rival.
Welcome to Seattle Coach Shephard and we’ll know more about this news once it’s officially announced by Washington.
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According to Pete Thamel, Shephard earns an associate head coach and passing game coordinator title in addition to serving as a WR coach. It’s no shock that Washington had to tack on some titles in order to lure Shephard to Seattle considering he was also a co-OC at Purdue. Given these additions, I would expect Shephard to become the third highest paid assistant between OC Ryan Grubb and OL coach Scott Huff. Either way, it seems clear that the 4 highest paid staff will all be on the offensive side of the ball as co-DCs William Inge and Chuck Morrell are each set to earn $550,000 and Huff is at $700,000.
Sources: Washington is set to hire Purdue WR coach JaMarcus Shephard as the school’s HC coordinator/pass-play/associate WR coach. Shephard is a top-notch WR trainer, working with Rondale Moore and David Bell for the past few years. @TomDienhart1 above first for @Rivals.
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) January 13, 2022