As Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher was putting a bow on recruiting his 2020 recruiting class through the last two months, he was also forced to recruit a few prospects approximately 20-years senior of those signing Wednesday.
Three new assistant coaches have joined Fisher’s staff since the end of the 2019 season: tight ends coach James Coley, linebackers coach Tyler Santucci and defensive backs coach TJ Rushing. Wednesday was Fisher’s first opportunity to address the leadership additions to the program.
“They work hard, are good people and we’re really blessed to have them,” Fisher said.
Santucci followed A&M defensive coordinator for much of his career, including a stint as a defensive analyst with the Aggies in 2018. After taking a year to coach linebackers at Wake Forest last season, Fisher said he was glad to get Santucci back in the fold due to his ability to build relationships in recruiting and coaching.
“You could see his football intellect, his ability to communicate and his ability to build relationships,” Fisher said. “Very down to earth guy who gets the big picture.”
Santucci replaces Bradley Dale Peveto, who had held the position since Fisher arrived in Aggieland two seasons ago. It is now up to Peveto to decide if he wants to assume a different role in the program, or move elsewhere, Fisher said.
When Maurice Linguist was called upon to join Mike McCarthy’s Dallas Cowboys’ staff as a secondary coach, Fisher called upon Rushing from Memphis to fill the vacancy. Before his eight-year career in coaching, Rushing made his mark as a member of the Super Bowl XLI Champion Indianapolis Colts, giving an unique perspective for his players, Fisher said.
“He was a very productive player there and has coached guys to get to that level,” Fisher said. “He’s very successful, communicates well, is a great person and is very knowledgeable of the game.”
Finally, Fisher’s most recent hire was luring Coley, a standout recruiter, away from an offensive coordinator position at Georgia to become the tight ends coach for the Aggies. Coley’s relationship with Fisher dates back to their time at LSU and continued when Coley worked under Fisher at Florida State.
“He’s been a coordinator long time,” Fisher said. “Knew that out of high school and was a successful high school coach and assistant coach. He’s coached all the positions on offense. Gets the coordinator role and is a tremendous recruiter and a tremendous person.”
All that remains is for Fisher to fill a vacancy in coaching running backs, after singing three to the 2020 recruiting class and one JUCO transfer on the way in the fall.
“I think the guys in which we brought in are tremendous guys,” Fisher said.