Arkansas football is in the market for another assistant coach, as tight ends coach Dowell Loggains is leaving the team to become the offensive coordinator at South Carolina, a source confirmed to Best of Arkansas Sports.
A former walk-on quarterback for the Razorbacks, Loggains returned to Fayetteville after a lengthy career in the NFL — including multiple stops as an offensive coordinator — last summer to be the team’s tight ends coach. It was his first on-field position in college football.
Loggains was also reported as a candidate for Kentucky’s offensive coordinator last offseason, but the Wildcats hired Rich Scangarello instead.
News of his candidacy with the Gamecocks first surfaced Wednesday night, just hours after four-star tight end commit Luke Hasz shared a photo of him on an in-home visit in Bixby, Okla.
However, that is relatively common in the coaching industry. In fact, head coach Sam Pittman revealed that he was out recruiting with Barry Odom during his Liberty Bowl teleconference with reporters, only for the defensive coordinator to become the head coach at UNLV less than 48 hours later.
Coaching Staff Changes under Sam Pittman
Barry Odom’s departure marked the first time Sam Pittman has lost one of his coordinators in three seasons as Arkansas’ head coach, but he’s no stranger to having to replace position coaches.
His next hire will actually be his fourth tight ends coach. Jon Cooper was on Pittman’s initial staff, but was let go following the 2020 season. He brought in Cody Kennedy to coach tight ends, but shifted him to the offensive line when Brad Davis left for LSU. That opened the door to bring in Loggains in June 2021.
Pittman has also had a different defensive line coach each year, with Jermial Ashley replacing Derrick LeBlanc last season and then Deke Adams replacing Ashley this past offseason. Current linebackers coach Michael Scherer has been in place for two years following a one-year stint by Rion Rhoades and cornerbacks coach Dominique Bowman took over for Sam Carter, who left for the same position at Ole Miss after two seasons in Fayetteville.
Loggains is the second Arkansas assistant to leave for a position at South Carolina, as wide receivers coach Justin Stepp took the same position with the Gamecocks after the 2020 season and was replaced by Kenny Guiton.
Both of those moves made a lot of sense because Stepp is from the state and was returning home, while Loggains was being promoted from tight ends coach to offensive coordinator within the SEC.
What Dowell Loggains Leaving Means for Arkansas Football
When the Razorbacks hired Dowell Loggains to coach tight ends, the immediate reaction by many was that he could essentially be an offensive coordinator-in-waiting when Kendal Briles inevitably left.
After all, Briles was coming off three straight one-year stints before taking the Arkansas job and his name has been consistently mentioned in both head coach and higher-profile offensive coordinator searches every offseason. It made sense for Pittman to have a backup plan.
However, with Loggains leaving for South Carolina, that is no longer the case. What it seems to indicate is that Briles will be back in 2023 at least. He’s under contract through 2024.
The other thing the Razorbacks now have to worry about because of his departure is their incredible crop of tight ends in the current recruiting class. They have a trio of four-star commitments in Shamar Easter, Luke Hasz and Jaden Hamm and the early signing period isn’t until Dec. 21-23.
It isn’t uncommon for recruits to decommit following the departure of an assistant coach and it also isn’t unheard of for them to follow said coach to their new destination. Just a couple of years ago, the Razorbacks flipped a pair of offensive linemen — Jalen St. John and Ray Curry Jr. — from Missouri when they hired Brad Davis.
South Carolina definitely has a need at the position because it’s losing its top three tight ends from this season, as Austin Stogner and Jaheim Bell have entered the portal and Nate Adkins is out of eligibility. The Gamecocks do have two tight ends committed, but both are three-star prospects.
The same could be said about Arkansas, especially considering that on Monday Trey Knox announced he was transferring and depending on whether or not Nathan Bax opts to use their bonus year of eligibility. Hudson Henry participated in Senior Day festivities as a redshirt junior and appears to be moving on.
That would leave Ty Washington as a redshirt freshman and the three incoming freshmen as tight ends the Razorbacks are likely counting on in 2023. It probably helps that Easter is an in-state product and Hasz has ties to the school, but only time will tell how it all plays out — and there’s not a whole lot of time remaining for everything to unfold.
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