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Saban promotes Mike Locksley to offensive coordinator; reportedly hiring Penn State’s top recruiter

And, a possible coaching wrinkle from Penn State

NCAA FOOTBALL: NOV 12 Penn State at Indiana Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Earlier this week, sources had reported that Alabama’s co-offensive coordinator and wide receiver coach, Mike Locksley, had been tabbed by Nick Saban to lead the offense.

Locksley has spent the past two seasons on Alabama’s staff and served as co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach in 2017. He was an offensive analyst with the Crimson Tide in 2016.

The 48-year-old Locksley also had an opportunity to join the Florida State staff under Willie Taggart but elected to stay at Alabama. Sources said the plan is for him to also coach the Crimson Tide’s quarterbacks

We were high on the decision for several reasons: He was the player’s choice, he was instrumental in implementing the midline zone scheme to Brian Daboll’s pro spread, there is offensive continuity that now stretches from Lane Kiffin’s tenure until the present, and, perhaps most importantly, Coach Locksley has deep recruiting ties to the fertile DMV/NOVA region.

Here are some highlights of his offense, and our take.

Moving on to the rest of the staff, that leaves space for a 10th coach — enter Penn State’s Josh Gattis:

Per Football Scoop and Al.Com

After promoting Mike Locksley to offensive coordinator, the Crimson Tide is reportedly hiring Penn State assistant Josh Gattis as the receivers coach and co-offensive coordinator. was the first to report the move Friday morning.

Gattis has been at Penn State four years after working under James Franklin for two seasons at Vanderbilt. The 2006 Wake Forest graduate also worked at Western Michigan in 2011.

Gattis was the passing game coordinator and receivers coach for the Nittany Lions. He also has a strong reputation as a recruiter, credited with landing 5-star receiver Justin Shorter to Penn State’s 2018 signing class, according to 247Sports. Gattis is currently the No. 14 recruiter in 247Sports national ranking of coaches.

Gattis has been instrumental in landing one highly-regarded recruit after another for James Franklin, from their days at Vanderbilt to the present. This is also victory on the performance front too. It’s not a secret that Alabama’s wide receiving corps as a whole did not exactly flourish under Locksley (and there are many reasons for that.) But, Gattis does an excellent job of both bringing them to campus, and then developing receivers into polished, well-rounded, and physical players suitable for Alabama’s offensive scheme.

It’s a rebuilt staff, to be sure. But there is a lot to like about both of these hires, particularly with the ability to recruit. I suspect we will see the moves pay dividends in just two weeks on National Signing Day 2018.

Roll Tide