Rhett Lashlee, who served as offensive coordinator at Arkansas State this past season, has been named offensive coordinator at Auburn. Lashlee has spent six of the last nine seasons working closely with Coach Gus Malzahn and his offense in a variety of capacities, including the 2009 and 2010 seasons as an offensive graduate assistant at Auburn.
"Rhett is one of the best young offensive minds in college football," said Malzahn. "I've been with Rhett a long time and he's been an incredibly valuable right-hand man. He has a great knowledge and understanding of Auburn and will be a tremendous asset for this program both on and off the field."
This season at Arkansas State, Lashlee, who was a Broyles Award nominee as the nation's top assistant coach, helped guide Arkansas State to a Sun Belt Championship, while ranking 17th nationally in total offense (481.8 ypg), 21st in scoring offense (36.4 ppg) and rushing offense (217.4 ypg).
Under Lashlee, school and conference record-setting quarterback Ryan Aplin, was named the Sun Belt Player of the Year after leading the league in passing yards, passing efficiency, and total offense. Aplin was 18th nationally in passing efficiency, throwing for 23 touchdowns and four interceptions in 2012 after throwing 19 TDs and 16 interceptions the season before Lashlee's arrival.
"We're very excited to be back in Auburn to rejoin this program and the Auburn family, which has the best fans in the country" Lashlee said. "I'm looking forward to working with Coach Malzahn and help get this team headed in the right direction and return to winning football. Auburn holds a special place in my family's heart, as this is where our twin boys were born, so we are blessed to be back. I'm excited to get to work."
Prior to his tenure at Arkansas State, Lashlee served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Samford in 2011.
At Samford, Lashlee spent installed a high-tempo offense that improved the Bulldogs national ranking in total offense from No. 57 in the nation to No. 36 over the course of just one year, while helping the Bulldogs average 28 points per game compared to 17 a game the previous year.
He helped Samford post a 6-5 record, including a 4-4 Southern Conference mark in 2011, matching their best ever as a member of the league. Samford broke the school record for points scored in a league game with 52 against Western Carolina as Lashlee helped the school jump from No. 100 in the nation in scoring offense to No. 43.
Lashlee, 29, coached Samford wide receiver Kelsey Pope, who broke the school record for receptions in a game, while quarterback Dustin Taliaferro broke Samford's career record for completions during the 2011 campaign as well.
While at Auburn, Lashlee assisted Malzahn with all aspects of the offense and coached the slot receivers in 2010. In 2009, the Tigers finished 8-5 winning the Outback Bowl. During the 2010 season he helped the Tigers finish 14-0, winning the Southeastern Conference championship and the BCS National Championship behind Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Cam Newton.
Prior to working at Auburn, Lashlee's college coaching career began in 2006 at Arkansas, where he served as offensive student graduate assistant while working with Malzahn. He helped lead the Razorbacks to a 10-4 record and an SEC Western Division championship behind Heisman Trophy runner-up Darren McFadden and fellow All-American Felix Jones. Lashlee worked with Malzahn at Springdale High School in Arkansas in 2004 and 2005, working with the quarterbacks and 2005 Gatorade, Parade Magazine and Rivals.com National Player of the Year Mitch Mustain.
Lashlee was a backup quarterback at the University of Arkansas from 2002-04, when his career was cut short due to a shoulder injury.
Prior to attending Arkansas, Lashlee graduated from Shiloh Christian High School in Springdale, Ark. in 2002. He played quarterback for Malzahn at Shiloh Christian High School from 1999-2001, posting a state-record 40 career wins (40-3-2 as a starter) while leading his team to three straight state championship game appearances that included two state titles. He was also named the 2001 AP Arkansas Player of the Year.
Lashlee owns virtually every state passing record and when his career had finished he had broken the national record for career touchdown passes (171), career touchdowns (200), most passing yards in a game (672) and was second with 13,201 passing yards.
Lashlee graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2006 with a degree in Marketing and Business Administration. He received his master's degree in Higher Education from Auburn in 2009.
Lashlee is married to the former Lauren Lee of Rogers, Ark., and they have two-year old twin boys, Thomas Price and Hudson Rhett.
Former Auburn standout quarterback Dameyune Craig has been hired as co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at Auburn. Craig spent the past three seasons at the quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator at Florida State.
"This is a great opportunity for me and my family to come back home to Auburn," Craig said. "I have a tremendous amount of confidence in Coach Malzahn and the staff he has assembled and I look forward to getting Auburn back to being a force in college football. Auburn speaks for itself and I'm excited to returning to a place that holds a special place in my heart."
Craig played quarterback at Auburn from 1994-97, where he still holds numerous Auburn passing records, including completions (216) and passing yards (3,227) in a season as well as a single-game record for most net yards gained (445 vs. Army in 1996; 75 rush, 370 pass). Craig, who led Auburn to an 18-7 mark in 25 career starts, was an exceptional student-athlete on and off the field, earning Academic All-SEC honors as a senior in 1997.
"We're extremely excited to welcome Dameyune back to Auburn," Malzahn said. "Dameyune is one of the top young coaches in college football and has established himself as one of the best recruiters in the country. He is very passionate about his alma mater and will be a valuable asset to the Auburn football program and the entire Auburn family."
In three seasons at Florida State, Craig helped the Seminoles to a 31-10 record, including a 12-2 mark in 2012. FSU won the 2012 Atlantic Coast Conference championship and defeated Northern Illinois in the Discover Orange Bowl.
Charged with coordinating FSU's recruiting efforts, Craig's time in that role helped produced the No. 1 and No. 2 recruiting classes the past two seasons. For his efforts in 2012, Craig was recognized as the 2012 Scout/FoxSportsNext ACC Recruiter of the Year as well as the Rivals.com ACC Recruiter of the Year. He was named one of the top 25 recruiters in the country by Rivals and one of the top 50 recruiters by 247Sports.
In addition to his recruiting duties, Craig served as quarterbacks coach, where he helped develop EJ Manuel and Christian Ponder.
FSU shined in passing efficiency with Ponder in 2010, ranking third in the ACC and 44th nationally (135.7 passing efficiency). Ponder and Manuel combined to throw for 2,905 yards while Ponder completed 61.5 percent of his passes and Manuel completed 69.9 percent of his passes. Ponder was a first-round draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Manuel finished his FSU career as the school career completion percentage leader (66.9 percent) while ranking in the school's top five all-time in passing yards and total offense. In 2012, Manuel threw for 3,392 yards and 23 touchdowns while completion 68 percent of his passes, while helping FSU set a school single-season record for total offense (6,591).
Craig came to Florida State after a two-year run at South Alabama where he directed the wide receivers for head coach Joey Jones. Jones made Craig his first hire when he was charged with starting the Jaguars' football program, which played its first season in 2009 and is in the process of becoming a Football Championship Subdivision program.
The Pritchard, Ala., native began his collegiate coaching career as an offensive graduate assistant at LSU in 2004 and also worked as a special teams assistant with the Miami Dolphins in 2005.
Craig returned to the college ranks in 2006 and helped Tuskegee to a two-year record of 22-2. As the Golden Tigers' quarterbacks coach he helped the program win a pair of SIAC titles and defeated Virginia Union in the Pioneer Bowl X to cap a 12-0 season in 2007 by winning the Black College National Championship.
At South Alabama, Craig was instrumental in implementing a run-based, spread offense that put up prolific numbers during its seven-game inaugural season in 2009. The Jaguars (7-0) averaged 45.9 points and 439 yards of total offense in 2009.
He signed as a free agent quarterback with the NFL's Carolina Panthers and appeared in six games over a four-year stretch. Craig gained his greatest acclaim on the field as a pro with the Scottish Claymores in NFL Europe, where he passed for a single-game league record 611 yards against Frankfort and matched another league mark with five touchdown passes in a game. He finished his professional playing career in 2002 with Indiana of the Arena Football League.
Craig began his coaching career at his high school alma mater, Blount, near Mobile, Ala., where he was an assistant coach in 2003.
Craig and his wife, Neke, have two sons, Devin Chanse and Drake Christian.
Offensive Line Coach
J.B. Grimes, who has spent over 30 years coaching at the collegiate level, has been named the offensive line coach at Auburn. Grimes, who has been a part of 14 bowl games and coached numerous NFL players, spent the 2012 season as the offensive line coach at Arkansas State with Malzahn.
"J.B. is a tremendous coach who is one of the nation's top teachers at the offensive line position," Malzahn said. "He has an incredible resume coaching the position and has taught countless players at the NFL level. He played a vital role in our team's success this past season and we're fortunate to have him join our program at Auburn."
At Arkansas State, Grimes coached an offensive line unit that helped set a school-record with 481.8 yards of total offense per game while ranking 16th nationally in fewest sacks allowed. Senior offensive lineman Zach McKnight earned first-team All-Sun Belt honors under Grimes' direction as the offense led the Sun Belt in rushing and ranked in the top 25 nationally in total offense, scoring offense and rushing offense.
"I'm excited about the opportunity to coach at Auburn and join Coach Malzahn's staff," Grimes said. "I've always admired Auburn football having coached in the Southeastern Conference and even when I was younger watching Pat Sullivan and Terry Beasley play. It's a special place with great history, traditions and fans. I've known Gus for several years and have admired the things he's done as a coach. We did some great things this past season at Arkansas State and I look forward to doing the same at Auburn."
Prior to his arrival at ASU, Grimes spent two seasons at Kansas (2010-11) and Mississippi State (2004-08) as the offensive line coach. Grimes' coaching career also includes stints at East Carolina, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, Arkansas, Louisiana-Monroe and Delta State as an assistant coach over the last three decades.
In his first season at Mississippi State, the Bulldogs rushed for 1,744 yards, the most at the school in four years. Behind his offensive line, MSU produced three seasons with a 1,000-yard rusher.
In his one season at East Carolina (2003), the Pirates' offensive line paved the way for its third straight 1,000-yard individual rusher. At Texas A&M (1998-2002) Grimes coached the offensive line under R.C. Slocum for five seasons as the Aggies posted a 40-22 overall record while playing in four straight bowl games.
While at Virginia Tech (1993-97) coaching for Frank Beamer, Grimes helped the Hokies to back-to-back Big East championships and five bowl games in five seasons.
Grimes also coached at Arkansas, serving as a graduate assistant in 1981-82 and as a full-time assistant coach in 1989-92, where he helped the Razorbacks to the Southwest Conference Championship and a Cotton Bowl appearance in 1990. At Arkansas, Grimes worked for Lou Holtz, Ken Hatfield and Jack Crowe.
Grimes also coached at Louisiana-Monroe (1979-80, 1985-88), Delta State (1983) and Missouri (1984) after spending his first two seasons at the high school level in the state of Arkansas at Nashville (1977) and Des Arc (1978). Louisiana-Monroe won the 1987 Division I-AA national championship.
As an offensive lineman at Henderson State, he helped his team to a 40-6 record in four seasons, including a berth in the 1974 NAIA Championship game.
He earned a bachelor's degree in education from Henderson State in 1977 and a master's degree in education from Louisiana-Monroe in 1981.
Grimes grew up in Clarendon, Ark. and is married to the former Jennifer Graves. The couple has four children, including sons Aaron and Nick and daughters Danielle and Lindsey.
Assistant Coach/Tight Ends
Tim Horton, who spent the previous six seasons at the University of Arkansas as running backs coach and recruiting coordinator the past five years, has been named as tight ends coach at Auburn.
"Tim is a true professional and an outstanding coach and recruiter, who deserves a lot of credit for Arkansas' success while he was there," head coach Gus Malzahn said. "Tim is a man of character who will be a great compliment to our staff and a tremendous representative of the entire Auburn family."
A 23-year coaching veteran, Horton was recognized by Rivals.com and ESPN.com as one of the nation's top recruiters during his tenure at Arkansas and was one of just two coaches in the nation, and the only one in the SEC, to coach four different 1,000-yard rushers from 2007-10. Under his watch, Darren McFadden and Felix Jones earned All-America honors, while Dennis Johnson and Knile Davis earned All-SEC honors.
"It is an honor and privilege to work at Auburn University with Coach Malzahn and the tremendous group of people and coaches that he's assembled," Horton said. "My family and I are thrilled to be joining the Auburn family."
Horton's first class as Arkansas' recruiting coordinator in 2008 featured wide receivers Joe Adams, Jarius Wright and Greg Childs, all selected in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft. With their selections, Arkansas tied a draft record with three receivers taken in the same draft. It was the 14th time in draft history, and third by an SEC team, three receivers from the same school were taken in the same draft and the sixth time all three were picked in the first four rounds.
During his six years at Arkansas, Horton coached two of the top four single-season rushing performances and more than a third of the 10 Razorbacks in school history to rush for more than 1,000 yards.
This past season under Horton, the duo of Johnson and Davis combined to rush for 1,134 yards and 10 touchdowns despite being riddled with injuries during the season.
In 2011, Horton helped the Razorbacks tie a school record with 11 wins and, combined with a 10-win season in 2010, marked just the third time in school history and first since 1988-89 UA reached double-digit win totals in back-to-back seasons.
Arkansas led the SEC in total offense in 2011, averaging 438.1 yards per game, for the second time in the previous three seasons, finishing inside the top four in the conference in that category each of the previous five seasons. UA also topped the SEC in scoring offense (36.8 ppg) in 2011.
All-SEC performer Dennis Johnson's 6.3 yards-per-carry average was second among the SEC's top-10 rushers, as he finished seventh in the conference in rushing, and fourth overall in the conference.
Under Horton's tutelage, Davis posted the fourth-highest single-season rushing total in Arkansas history in 2010 as he ran for 1,322 yards and became just the 10th Razorback to eclipse 1,000 rushing yards in a season. Davis was named a first-team All-SEC performer and led all SEC running backs with his average of 101.7 yards per game on the ground and finished the season with five consecutive 100-yard rushing games.
Horton, who played football at Arkansas from 1986-89, returned to his alma mater in 2007, where he coached McFadden and Jones to All-America honors. McFadden was the Heisman Trophy runner-up and won the Doak Walker Award as the nation's top running back in that season. McFadden finished the 2007 season with a school-record 1,830 yards and 16 touchdowns.
He came to Arkansas after taking the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coaching position at Air Force in January 2007. During the 2006 season, he was the running backs coach at Kansas State, helping the Wildcats earn a Texas Bowl appearance. At KSU, Horton coached two future NFL running backs in Thomas Clayton and James Johnson.
Prior to his one season at KSU, he was at Air Force from 1999-2005, serving as the wide receivers coach from 1999-2004 and the running backs coach in 2005. Horton was recognized by the Colorado Chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes as one of its coaches of the year in 2004.
He began his coaching career at Appalachian State in 1990 and helped guide the Mountaineers to a 67-32 record during his eight years, including Southern Conference championships in 1991 and 1995 and five appearances in the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs. The 1995 Mountaineers were the first Division I team to go undefeated in North Carolina college football history.
From 1990-92, Horton coached Appalachian State's receivers and tight ends before taking over as the Mountaineers' running backs coach in 1993. He also served as the program's recruiting coordinator.
Horton earned his bachelor's degree in marketing management from Arkansas in 1990. While at Arkansas, he was a four-year letterman and three-year starter as a split end and punt returner under head coach Ken Hatfield. He caught 49 passes for 942 yards and one touchdown in his career, including hauling in 23 catches for 453 yards as a senior in 1989. Horton also returned 78 punts for 657 yards in his collegiate career, which is fifth all-time in school history.
Horton's four years at Arkansas proved to be among the most successful in school history as the Razorbacks compiled a 38-11 record, won back-to-back Southwest Conference titles in 1988 and 1989 and appeared in four straight bowl games. Horton's graduating class remains tied for the school record for the most wins in a four-year period.
A two-time academic all-conference selection, Horton was a second-team All-Southwest Conference selection in 1989 and served as the Razorbacks' team captain that season. In high school, Horton was a two-time all-state running back and a track standout at Conway (Ark.) High School.
Horton and his wife Lauren have one daughter, Caroline, and one son, Jackson.