Tennessee’s Phillip Fulmer began reloading his football staff Wednesday with the hiring of Stan Drayton as an offensive assistant coach.
Drayton, 36, comes to the Vols after spending three years on the Florida football staff and one season before that at Mississippi State. His responsibility at both SEC schools was running backs, although a decision on Drayton’s position duties with the Vols will be decided upon completion of the entire offensive staff.
“In talking to Coach Fulmer during the interview process, I know exactly what he’s looking for and what he wants to do,” Drayton said. “He’s just trying to put the pieces together and find that fit among coaches.
“It gives me an opportunity to bring some things to the table from different styles of offense -- from the spread offense and a pro-style offense. It gives me a chance to scheme and dream a little bit putting some good athletes to work.”
Drayton has spent a combined 12 years coaching running backs on the collegiate level in addition to three seasons in the NFL. He helped Green Bay to three-straight NFC playoff appearances during his 2001-03 stint with the Packers as offensive quality control and assistant special teams coach.
Several Drayton disciples have made their marks in the college and professional football ranks.
Brian Westbrook played under Drayton at Villanova, becoming the first player on any collegiate level to record more than 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in the same season. Westbrook was a third-round selection by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2002 draft and is coming off his second consecutive 1,000-yard rushing season in 2007.
Another power running back who received a year of stewardship under Drayton was Mississippi State’s Jerious Norwood. The SEC's third-leading rusher in 2004, Norwood gained 1,050 yards during his only season with Drayton and has gone on to become the featured back for the Atlanta Falcons.
“I feel very privileged to have the opportunity at Tennessee,” Drayton said. “Being a former NFL coach, I know that those professional coaches look for running backs coming out of the SEC because those guys understand how to run the football against speed and big bodies. In my opinion, running in the SEC is the closest thing there is to running the football in the NFL.”
Florida ranked third in the SEC and 23rd nationally in rushing this season with an average of 200.2 yards.
“Stan Drayton brings a level of experience, energy and enthusiasm to our football team,” Fulmer said. “He has been around outstanding players and outstanding programs throughout his career.”
The Vols and Fulmer are replacing four offensive assistant coaches who departed after the team’s New Year’s Day victory over Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl. Former offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe is the new head coach at Duke, and he hired Kurt Roper as offensive coordinator and Matt Luke as offensive line coach. Trooper Taylor departed for Oklahoma State as the Cowboys’ new offensive coordinator.
“Along with hiring a great coach, we also are excited about Stan’s wife, Monique, and his children being a part of this family,” said Fulmer, who is hiring his first new assistant coach since Roper came on board two years ago this month. “They came with him on the interview and fit right into the type of environment we have worked in our 16 years here to build at Tennessee.”
Drayton was named one of the nation's 25 best recruiters by Rivals.com for his part in the 2007 Florida signing class ranked No. 1 by most outlets.
Before coaching in the professional ranks, Drayton spent the 2000 season at Bowling Green as running backs and special teams assistant. This came after his four-year stay at Villanova.
Drayton was a three-year starter himself as a running back at Allegheny (Pa.) College. The Cleveland, Ohio, native was a three-time, first-team All-America selection, an Associated Press Little All-America first-team member and holds the Division III season record for touchdowns scored per game (3.2).
He remains Allegheny's all-time leading rusher and scorer and helped the Gators claim the 1990 Division III national championship. In addition to football, Drayton also twice earned All-America status in track and field, competing in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes.
Drayton is married to the former Monique Fuller of Detroit. They have two children, Amari, 3, and Anaya, 7 months.
Story Courtesy: UT Sports Information