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LSU Football Coach Brian Kelly Finishes Staff With WRs Coach Cortez Hankton From Georgia

BATON ROUGE – New LSU football coach Brian Kelly finished his staff hires on Monday with a twofold flourish.

He tapped the staff of just-crowned national champion Georgia for wide receivers coach/pass game coordinator Cortez Hankton for the same position at LSU, which adds recruiting connections to talent-rich New Orleans.

“He understands what it takes to win at the highest level,” Kelly said of Hankton on Monday. “The experience he brings to our program will help create a championship culture at LSU.”

Hankton, 40, was making $550,000 a year at Georgia.

Hankton, a New Orleans native, played at St. Augustine High in the city and set the career receiving record as a wide receiver at Texas Southern in Houston with 3,400 yards. An undrafted free agent, he played in the NFL at Jacksonville from 2003-06, Minnesota in 2007 and Tampa Bay in 2008.

Hankton started his coaching career at Dartmouth in 2012 as a wide receivers assistant. After three seasons, he moved on to the same job at Vanderbilt from 2015 through 2017 before Georgia coach Kirby Smart made him the Bulldogs’ receivers coach in 2018. He was promoted to pass game coordinator in 2019, where he remained through the 2021 season.

“Cortez is a tremendous coach who has developed outstanding receivers everywhere he’s been,” Kelly said.

Cortez is Kelly’s second hire with New Orleans connections. Frank Wilson, 48, was hired in December from the McNeese State head coaching position to be the Tigers’ running backs coach and associate head coach. He is also a New Orleans native who played at St. Augustine High.

Kelly’s other previous hires were defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Matt House, offensive coordinator/tight ends coach Mike Denbrock, quarterbacks coach Joe Sloan, special teams coordinator/recruiting coordinator Brian Polian, defensive line coach Jamar Cain, safeties coach Kerry Cooks and cornerbacks coach Robert Steeples.

House, 43, will finish the NFL playoffs as linebackers coach with the Kansas City Chiefs. He was previously a defensive coordinator at Kentucky.

Denbrock, 57, was the University of Cincinnati’s offensive coordinator. Sloan, 34, was offensive coordinator at Louisiana Tech. Polian, 47, was coordinator of special teams and recruiting with Kelly at Notre Dame. Cain, 41, was outside linebackers and defensive ends coach at Oklahoma. Cooks, 47, was a defensive analyst at Notre Dame and previously was a defensive backs coach at Oklahoma. Steeples, 32, was an assistant special teams coach with the Minnesota Vikings.

The only coach Kelly retained from previous coach Ed Orgeron’s staff was offensive line coach Brad Davis. LSU finished 6-7 after a 42-20 Texas Bowl loss to Kansas State on Jan. 4 with Davis serving as interim coach.

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

Guilbeau has been on the LSU beat since 1998 with multiple outlets in Louisiana, prior to that he had covered both Auburn and Alabama. He won first place for his game feature on LSU's upset at Florida last season from the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). He was also named Beat Writer of Year, by Louisiana Sports Writers Association in July; placed in three Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) categories – Beat Writer, Explanatory, Game Coverage – last spring. Guilbeau was also the FWAA first-place winner for columns in 2017 and was also the top overall winner in 2016 FWAA placing first for his game story, second in columns, and receiving honorable mention for features.

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