Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Michigan State football hires William Peagler as running backs coach, Ross Els as special teams coordinator

Mel Tucker has now filled nine out of ten spots on his coaching staff.

February 25, 2020
<p>New head football coach Mel Tucker answers questions from the media at his introductory press conference at the Breslin Student Events Center on Feb. 12, 2020.</p>

New head football coach Mel Tucker answers questions from the media at his introductory press conference at the Breslin Student Events Center on Feb. 12, 2020.

Photo by Matt Zubik | The State News

Michigan State football coach Mel Tucker has appointed William Peagler as the running backs coach and Ross Els as the special teams coordinator on his inaugural staff.

Peagler, 34, previously worked with Tucker as the director of quality control for the offense at the University of Colorado Boulder. He will replace Brad Salem, who served as Mark Dantonio's offensive coordinator and running backs coach for the 2019-20 season.

A Clemson graduate, Peagler worked as a student assistant in Clemson under Tommy Bowden and Dabo Swinney from 2006-2009 and as a graduate assistant for the 2017 Georgia Bulldogs football team that appeared in the College Football Playoff national championship game.

In a press release from the university, Tucker praised Peagler's offensive knowledge and potential.

“William has an excellent understanding of offensive concepts,” he said. “He really gets it. He’s a multi-talented coach and I think he is a rising star.”

Peagler also has ample experience coaching with Michigan State offensive coordinator Jay Johnson. The two worked together at Minnesota, Louisiana and Colorado with Johnson as the offensive coordinator and Peagler primarily working in quality control and recruiting.

Els, 54, is the more experienced of the two hires, serving as the defensive coordinator at Nebraska from 2011-2014 and at Purdue in 2016. He previously worked with Tucker at Colorado as the inside linebackers coach and will replace Mark Staten as special teams coordinator.

Tucker said that Els' excellence in recruiting and previous experience will be beneficial to MSU football.


“Ross has been a Power 5 defensive coordinator and does an excellent job with special teams,” he said. “His attention to detail is outstanding and he’s a great teacher. He also develops great relationships with his players, which makes him a great recruiter as well. His experience will definitely help our staff.”

Els worked under Head Coach Frank Solich as the linebackers coach at Ohio from 2004-2010 and coached the position at New Mexico State and Nebraska from 2003-04 and in 2011 respectively.

With these hires, Tucker only has to appoint a defensive coordinator to completely fill out his staff.

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