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Tennessee Football: Could OC Alex Golesh’s departure affect the Tennessee 2023 signing class

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Success brings change. That’s just how college football works. That came to pass on Saturday when Tennessee offensive coordinator Alex Golesh was hired as the next head coach of South Florida. 

Coaching changes can be followed by a slew of de-commitments and transfers. With Early Signing Day approaching fast on Dec. 21, the news of Golseh’s departure could cause issues for Tennessee. 

Despite the move, there isn’t a tremendous cause for concern. It’s unlikely that Tennessee will see a sudden change in its current class of 2023. 

Nico Iamaleava – five-star quarterback and the crown jewel of Tennessee’s 2023 class – seems like he’ll be sticking around. What attracted the No. 5 prospect was more than just Golesh. 

“Everything about (Tennessee), the whole atmosphere, the environment, the fans are crazy. I love that about the fans. Just playing for guys like coach (Josh) Heupel, coach Golesh and coach (Joey) Halzle. I can’t wait,” Iamaleava told ON3.

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The signal caller from California committed to Tennessee to run Heupel’s offense. Golesh was running Heupel’s system as offensive coordinator – a system that found Heupel success at Central Florida and landed him the job in Knoxville. Heupel had success at UCF before Golesh joined him there. Heupel also had success at other stops without working with Golesh so there’s no reason to think that Golesh is the key to the Vols’ success.

On top of the explosive offense Heupel runs, Tennessee is one of the few schools with a separate quarterback’s coach. Joey Halzle, as Iamaleava mentioned, has quickly gained a reputation for himself on Rocky Top. Sources close to Tennessee have told Off The Hook Sports that Halzle is the early leader to be named as Tennessee’s offensive coordinator to replace Golesh.

Halzle is largely credited with the transformation of Hendon Hooker from a backup to a Heisman contender. He also coached up one of the most talented backup quarterbacks in the nation, Joe Milton III. 

Heupel likes to promote from within. With only one open position before the season, he named Kelsey Pope as the new wide receivers coach.

While it seems Iamaleava and the rest of Tennessee’s class of 2023 is staying put, it is worth noting that Golesh was the tight ends coach for the Vols. 

The Volunteers have one tight end in their 2023 class, Ethan Davis. Davis’ main recruiter was Golesh. He verbally committed to Golesh and Tennessee on Dec. 12. 

Davis had formed a tight relationship with Golesh, even getting an in-home visit on Friday. 

Almost an hour after Davis thanked the former Tennessee offensive coordinator for his visit, news broke that he was headed for the Sunshine State. 

The Suwanee, Georgia tight end is expected to remain a Vol with the early signing day approaching, but Golesh’s departure could change the four-star prospect’s mind.

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