Four reasons why LSU promoting Cortez Hankton to co-offensive coordinator makes sense

Brian Kelly didn’t have to look far to find LSU’s next offensive coordinators.

The LSU head coach promoted Joe Sloan and Cortez Hankton. The two served as the interim co-offensive coordinators during LSU’s bowl win over Wisconsin, but now, that title is permanent.

LSU’s staff was completed with the hiring of tight ends coach Slade Nagle on Wednesday morning.

Nagle has play-calling experience himself after leading Tulane’s offense under Willie Fritz.

Hankton is yet to call plays, though. Sloan will serve as LSU’s primary playcaller, but this will still be a test for Hankton. LSU fans are likely already familiar with the New Orleans native, but here are four reasons why he’s ready for this job.

Hankton is a New Orleans native

Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

One of the main selling points when Hankton was hired as receivers coach in 2022 was his ties to the state.

He was born in New Orleans and played high school football at St. Augustine, the same school that produced Leonard Fournette and Tyrann Mathieu.

This state has produced several superstar receivers in recent years. Ja’Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson, CeeDee Lamb and Devonta Smith are all Louisiana natives. Having a receivers coach who can land players of that caliber is critical.

Hankton’s promotion ensures his presence on the staff, giving LSU what it needs recruiting-wise.

NFL experience

Photo by Dale Zanine USA TODAY Sports Copyright (c) 2006 Dale Zanine
Photo by Dale Zanine USA TODAY Sports Copyright (c) 2006 Dale Zanine

Hankton was undrafted out of Texas Southern, but he still managed to play four years in the NFL.

The Jaguars signed Hankton in 2003. He caught 17 passes for 166 yards as a rookie. He finished his NFL career with 34 catches for 310 yards and a touchdown.

It’s not much, but four years is longer than most guys make it. That NFL experience can be valuable when selling yourself to a recruit. Hankton continued to play professional football in some capacity through 2011.

National title pedigree

(Photo by Brett Davis/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brett Davis/Getty Images)

Hankton arrived at Georgia in 2018 before getting promoted to passing game coordinator in 2019.

Under Hankton and offensive coordinator Todd Monken, the Georgia offense took off.

Kirby Smart’s defenses were always elite, but the offense didn’t reach a championship level until 2021. Hankton was a key member of that staff.

Along with years of SEC experience, Hankton spent 2012-14 at Dartmouth in the Ivy League, a conference that’s become synonymous with producing smart football coaches.

Development record speaks for itself

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Hankton’s development and recruiting record over the last few years has been among the best in the sport. Prior to his arrival at Georgia, the Bulldogs had signed one top-15 receiver recruit between the 2017 and 2018 recruiting classes.

Over the next two years, Georgia went on to sign six top-15 receiving prospects.

At LSU, Hankton has done more of the same, signing seven blue-chip receivers in two cycles.

But Hankton’s most impressive achievement in Baton Rouge thus far has been the development of Malik Nabers and Brian Thomas Jr.

Nabers and Thomas both had obvious talent, but under Hankton, they both became projected first-round picks with Nabers leading the country in yards per game while Thomas held the touchdown title.

Story originally appeared on LSU Tigers Wire