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Georgia legend Hines Ward lands coaching job with Arizona State


Former Georgia wide receiver Hines Ward has reportedly accepted a position on Kenny Dillingham’s assistant coaching staff at Arizona State.

According to a report from ESPN’s Pete Thamel, Ward will replace Ra’Shaad Samples as the Sun Devils’ new wide receivers coach. Samples recently left to take the same position at Oregon. The deal is not yet done but is expected to be finalized soon, according to Thamel.

Ward most recently served as the head coach of the San Antonio Brahmas in the XFL. Before that, the 2-time Super Bowl champion was a wide receivers coach at Florida Atlantic for a year (2021) and an offensive assistant with the New York Jets (2019-20).

It’s an interesting fit for Ward, who will inherit a talented receiver room in Tempe. The leading receiver in 2023, Elijhah Badger, returns after a 65-reception, 713-yard campaign. ASU also has returning production from Xavier Guillory and slot Melquan Stovall, two players who started last season. Jake Smith (ruled ineligible in 2023) and Jordyn Tyson (injury) missed all or most of the year but could factor heavily into the plans next season.

Badger is an under-the-radar talent at receiver, a 6-foot-2 veteran who is more than capable of being an offense’s top option. Tyson is a wild card; he’s a big play waiting to happen but spent his freshman season handcuffed to a nasty Colorado offense and then spent his sophomore season rehabbing an injury.

Ward should command respect the second he walks into the room. As far as proven receivers, it doesn’t get much better than the former Bulldog.

Over a 14-year NFL career, he made 1,000 receptions for 12,083 yards and 85 touchdowns. He was the Super Bowl XL MVP, a 4-time Pro Bowler, a 3-time All-Pro, and arguably the best blocking receiver the NFL has ever seen. Ward was so vicious as a blocker, he forced a rule change in the NFL.

Coaches often tell receivers “no block, no rock” and the line of demarcation between good offenses and great offenses is usually how well a team blocks out on the perimeter. Dillingham should feel confident in Ward’s tutelage in that regard.

Arizona State won just 3 games during Dillingham’s first year, but the season got off to a rocky start with the school self-imposing a bowl ban just weeks before the opener and it was derailed by a brutal string of injuries to just about every part of the 2-deep. Arizona State’s offensive line was decimated, and it missed starting quarterback Jaden Rashada for almost the entire season.

With better health in 2024, Arizona State could be a surprisingly feisty team in the new-look Big 12 because of the talent it possesses on offense.


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