As part of a larger proposal approved by the NCAA Division I Council on April 14, legislation was passed that will allow FBS programs to hire a 10th on-field assistant coach.
The additional position, however, will not be available until the change goes into effect on Jan. 9, 2018. Currently, schools are limited to nine on-field assistants.
Clemson still plans to hire Lemanski Hall as its 10th assistant, with Hall expected to coach the defensive tackles.
“We are prepared for right now,” Swinney told The Clemson Insider on Monday night at the Prowl & Growl event in Rock Hill, S.C. “Our plan is in place. We know what we’re going to do. It’s just a manner of Jan. 9 getting here. But it will allow us to have a little more time for our 10th assistant to familiarize himself with this area and certain things.”
Because the new rule won’t go into effect until January, the Tigers will have just one defensive line coach this season.
Long-time defensive tackles coach Dan Brooks retired after last season, and a week later, defensive ends coach Marion Hobby left to take a similar job with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.
Mickey Conn, who served as a defensive analyst on Clemson’s staff in 2016, was hired by Dabo Swinney to replace Brooks. Former Jacksonville State defensive line coach Todd Bates was hired to replace Hobby and will coach the entire defensive line this season.
Swinney promoted Conn at the time because he was under the impression the 10th on-field coach would be available immediately after the bill was passed. The head coach wanted to waste no time getting Conn, an excellent recruiter with great relationships as a longtime head coach at Grayson (Ga.) High School, on the field and out on the recruiting trail.
Swinney would ideally like to have Hall, who is currently working as a defensive analysis/research development coach on his staff, on board as an on-field coach this season. This will be the first time since Swinney took over the program in 2009 that he has not had two defensive line coaches.
However, Swinney is excited about being able to add Hall as the 10th assistant next year. Not only will Hall be able to help Bates with the defensive line, but he gives the Tigers another recruiter. And with the number of players on the team, having another coach to lend a hand, help keep things organized and work with the players is very beneficial.
“It is a good situation,” Swinney said. “I’m excited for the opportunity to have a 10th coach. It has been a long time coming. We’ll just have to wait until it becomes official, but we have a plan in place and we are ready to go.”
Hall is a former teammate of Swinney’s at Alabama. The two helped the Crimson Tide to a national championship in 1992, while Hall was a first-team All-SEC linebacker and captain on the 1992 team. He went on to play nine seasons in the NFL for the Houston Oilers, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings.
Prior to Clemson, Hall worked as a linebackers coach and fitness instructor for seven years at Ensworth High School in Nashville, Tenn. Hall also worked in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans through the NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship. In this role, he observed NFL coaches and worked with them to evaluate players.