Auburn’s growing coaching staff continues to have a distinct Oklahoma flavor.
Gene Chizik added Oklahoma State co-offensive coordinator Trooper Taylor as his assistant head coach/wide receivers coach Monday, making him the fifth assistant to join the Tigers’ budding staff.
Taylor, a former Tennessee assistant, has a reputation as a strong recruiter and is the second Cowboys coach to leave for Auburn, joining running backs coach Curtis Luper, who was hired last Friday. Gus Malzahn, Auburn’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, was hired away from Tulsa last week.
“This is a great opportunity to join Coach Chizik at Auburn and be a part of a dynamic offensive staff that he has put together,” Taylor said in a news release. “I’m excited to be coaching at a program like Auburn and return to the Southeastern Conference.”
Never miss a local story.
Taylor flew from Stillwater, Okla., along with Luper on Sunday to meet with Chizik. He flew back that night, then came to his decision Monday morning.
Linebackers coach James Willis and special teams coordinator Jay Boulware round out the coaches Chizik has hired so far for his staff. It was announced Monday that Boulware also will coach tight ends.
That leaves Auburn with four assistant positions to fill, still needing a defensive coordinator and three positional coaches — defensive line, secondary and offensive line.
The 38-year-old Taylor is considered a major boost to Auburn’s recruiting efforts. Rivals.com ranked him among the nation’s top 25 recruiters in 2005 and 2007.
“He’s been successful at every stop as a coach, has a strong knowledge of the Southeastern Conference and is a tremendous recruiter,” Chizik said.
Taylor established a reputation on the recruiting trails during four years at Tennessee (2004-07), where he split his time between coaching running backs and wide receivers. He recruited five-star safety Eric Berry, this year’s SEC Defensive Player of the Year and a consensus All-American.
He hooked on with Mike Gundy’s Oklahoma State staff this year as the team’s co-offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach. Among his 2009 recruits was five-star wide receiver Rueben Randle.
Taylor also has had coaching stops at Baylor (1992-97), New Mexico (1998) and Tulane (1999-03).
He has coached three All-Americans in his career, helping future NFL wide receiver Robert Meachem to the honor in 2006.
This year, two Cowboys earned All-American status: wide receiver Dez Bryant and running back Kendall Hunter.
Bryant caught 87 passes for 1,480 yards and scored a school-record 19 touchdowns. Hunter finished with 1,555 rushing yards and scored 16 touchdowns.