New RB Coach Juluke May Not Be Best Fit For Texas Tech

Apr 16, 2016; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers running backs coach Jabbar Juluke looks on during the Spring Game at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 16, 2016; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers running backs coach Jabbar Juluke looks on during the Spring Game at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports /

Another offseason means more assistant coaching turnover for the Texas Tech football program.  This week, former LSU running backs coach Jabbar Juluke was named to the same position at Texas Tech.  While Juluke’s reputation is impressive, it is fair to ask whether he is the right fit for the Red Raiders.

Next: Appreciate the Integrity of Kingsbury

To fill the vacancy on his staff at running backs coach, Kliff Kingsbury has turned to a familiar face.  Jabbar Juluke is returning to the South Plains for his second stint with the Red Raiders.

Here’s hoping that this time he sticks around for more than a month.

Cup of Coffee

Just over a year ago, Juluke was named running backs coach of the Red Raiders.  However, after three weeks on the job he left Lubbock to assume the same position at LSU.

Texas Tech fans could not fault Juluke for jumping ship for an opportunity at his dream school.  After all, he did exactly what current Texas Tech head basketball coach Chris Beard did to UNLV just a few weeks later.

But now, Juluke is back in the fold with the Red Raiders after he was demoted by new LSU head coach Ed Oregon.   So what does this tell us about Kliff Kingsbury’s overall plan?

Back to the Bayou

The role of most running backs coaches in today’s world of college football is that of recruiter.  This is the case for Texas Tech.

Kingsbury and offensive coordinator Eric Morris are clearly in charge of the Air Raid offense. Therefore, they are the primary coaches for the running backs.

That means that the running backs coach is tasked with being an ace recruiter.  That is why Kingsbury has hired two successful high school coaches (Juluke and Mike Jenks) to man the position.

Juluke led Edna Karr High School in New Orleans to a state title and three championship games in nine years.  In the process, he became one of the most well-connected prep coaches in the state of Louisiana.

Thus, explaining his appeal to Kingsbury.  The Bayou State has been a priority to Kingsbury throughout his tenure with the Red Raiders.

At least one assistant coach with ties to Louisiana has been on the Texas Tech coaching staff every season since 2013.  Yet, the Red Raiders have made only minimal inroads in the pursuit of Louisiana talent.

Barking Up the Wrong Tree?

Juluke brings a strong resume to Texas Tech.  At Louisiana Tech, he coached Kenneth Dixon who set NCAA records for touchdowns (87), points scored (522) and games with at least one touchdown (38).  Dixon led the nation in scoring in 2015 and was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

In addition, Juluke spent 2016 coaching likely 2017 first round draft pick Leonard Fournette.  The former LSU star averaged 6.5 yards per carry under Juluke’s tutelage.

But can the new Texas Tech running backs coach pry elite Louisiana prospects out of the swamp?  That is a task Texas Tech has struggled with despite considerable efforts.

LSU has monopolized the elite talent of Louisiana.

New Orleans native Tyron Johnson, the nation’s top wide receiver prospect in 2015, received the full-court-press from Kingsbury and his entire staff.  But ultimately, he chose to stay home and play for the run-first LSU Tigers rather than catch passes from Pat Mahomes at Texas Tech.

Some top recruits do leave Louisiana but they almost always wind up at blue-blood programs.

For instance, that same year, another New Orleans prospect, four-star defensive lineman Arthur McGinnis shunned the Red Raiders for Big 12 rival Oklahoma.  In all, the five recruiting classes Kliff Kingsbury has signed have yielded only three recruits from Louisiana.

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Therefore, fans are justified in wondering if it would have been more prudent for Texas Tech to hire a running backs coach with strong Texas ties.  That is the route taken by one of the Red Raiders’ biggest in-state rivals.

New Baylor head coach Matt Rhule has hired three big-time Texas high school coaches to his first staff in Waco.  Doing so helped the Bears ink the fifth-best recruiting class in the conference (one spot ahead of Texas Tech) despite heading into December with only one verbal commit.

Texas Tech’s recruiting base has always been the Lone Star State.  Kingsbury and his staff must win more in-state recruiting battles against Big 12 foes to enhance the roster.

This is not to suggest that Tech should ignore all other states.  The Red Raiders must find talent wherever possible.  But the most fertile recruiting round in the nation is Texas.  That is where Texas Tech must have the strongest presence.

Juluke has no ties to Texas.  Furthermore, the Red Raiders have seen little return on their significant investment in Louisiana.

Jabbar Juluke appears to be a good coach but the Red Raiders would have been better served by hiring someone more equipped to recruit in Texas.