Report saying Gamecocks set to hire two from Tennessee staff & what we know about them
Feb. 10, 2020
The Gamecocks are reportedly staying within the Nick Saban coaching tree when searching for replacements. VolQuest, the Tennessee Rivals site, reported Drew Hughes will join South Carolina’s staff to replace Matt Lindsey as a director of player personnel. Lindsey has not left yet, but is reportedly headed to Ole Miss and will stay on for the transition. Both The Big Spur and Gamecock Central reported Monday morning that Vols defensive line coach Tracy Rocker will be tabbed to replace John Scott Jr., who took the same job at Penn State over the weekend.
South Carolina also reportedly lost running backs coach Thomas Brown to the LA Rams of the NFL, while wide receivers coach Bryan McClendon to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Vols are currently coached by Jeremy Pruitt, who worked his way up Saban’s staff and had ties to the likes of Lindsey and other Gamecock staffers.
Rocker is a longtime veteran of the SEC, having coached at Tennessee, Georgia, Auburn, Arkansas and Ole Miss since 2003 (he also had a three-year stint with the NFL’s Tennessee Titans). He played his college ball at Auburn and won the Lombardi Award and Outland Trophy as a senior before a brief NFL career with Washington. Rocker was a member of 2010 Auburn staff, which helped the Tigers to a national title, and he worked with eventual top-15 pick Nick Fairley. Rocker will be the team’s third defensive line coach in as many years. Scott was only in Columbia for a single season after replacing Lance Thompson.
Hughes worked as a recruiting specialist for Alabama and Saban as an undergrad between 2007-11 season. He then had one-year stints at UCF and N.C. State before joining Muschamp in Florida for his last season there. Hughes stayed on with Jim McElwain in Gainesville and then landed in Knoxville in 2018. With Hughes on board, the Vols pulled in the No. 13 class in the country off a 5-7 season and the No. 10 class the the country in the last cycle.