Update: Brown’s hiring is now social media official:
We’re waist deep in college football’s silly season of coaching changes, and the wackiness appears to have finally reached Athens.
For much of Kirby Smart’s successful run in the Classic City Bulldog assistants have gotten a lot of attention from schools looking to replicate the Georgia Way. This year it’s ACC contender* Syracuse, which according to multiple reports will hire Georgia defensive backs coach Fran Brown as head coach.
Syracuse parted ways with eighth year head coach Dino Babers with one game left in the season and a 5-6 record. However it was a tale of two seasons, as is often the case for the Orangemen. After starting 4-1 Syracuse lost five of Babers’ last six at the helm.
Coach Brown spent two years as the defensive backs coach for the Red and Black, presiding over the development of NFL players Kelee Ringo and Christopher Smith, and current All-Americans like Javon Bullard and Malaki Starks. He also isn’t unfamiliar with the northeast, having served six years at Temple in various capacities and two years at Rutgers as DBs coach before coming to Athens.
The obvious questions for Georgia fans are whether Brown’s departure would affect the team’s upcoming SEC title game plans as well as what the effect might be on recruiting. As to the first, not to downplay Brown’s coaching abilities, but there’s probably not a position on the field at which the staff is deeper. Kirby Smart and Will Muschamp both have tons of experience coaching defensive backs and know the game plan. There shouldn’t be any letup there.
Recruiting is perhaps a little dicier, but we’re at the stage in the 2024 cycle where most players have built relationships with enough coaches and future teammates that the loss of a position coach isn’t necessarily a disaster. Georgia has three defensive backs pledged for the class of 2024, the most highly-rated being IMG Academy standout Ellis Robinson, IV. Robinson, the nation’s top corner prospect and the #3 player in the nation overall, tweeted this not long after the Brown reports began emerging:
Robinson later told On3 that he’s happy for Brown, but remains committed to Georgia.
I expect Coach Smart with assure he and fellow pledges Demelo Jones of Swainsbori and Ontre Evans of Tennessee that he’ll find an excellent replacement. Given the talent in the DBs room and the chance to coach on a staff that keeps producing college head coaches, I expect the resume pool will be deep.
Standard caveats about deals not being done until the ink is dry apply here. But assuming all goes to plan, here’s wishing Coach Brown a long and successful tenure in the frozen tundra of Syracuse.
* I didn’t say what the Orangemen are contending for, or when. I’m sure there’s something though.