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Ra'Shaad Samples New Oregon Running Backs Coach

Ra'Shaad Samples
© Cheryl Evans/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

Despite Oregon coach Dan Lanning telling us last week that he doesn't feel rushed to find a replacement for Carlos Locklyn, the Ducks found a replacement quickly. Oregon is hiring Ra'Shaad Samples as the new Running Backs Coach. Samples is the perfect blend of a young coach with infinite potential and an experienced intelligent former player.


Who Is Ra'Shaad Samples?

Ra'Shaad Samples began his coaching career in 2016 as a student assistant with the Houston Cougars. After stops at Texas and SMU Samples became the youngest position coach in the NFL when he became the running backs coach of the Los Angeles Rams at age 27. After a year with the Rams Samples was hired by Kenny Dillingham as the running back coach for Arizona State. In December of 2023, he signed an extension with the Sun Devils but is now leaving to take the same position with Oregon. There are rave reviews for Samples in the Arizona State organization, including positive feedback from Dillingham, the former Oregon offensive coordinator. "When you think of Coach Samples. this is a guy who has been an assistant head coach in college football from the time he was 26" Dillingham told 247 Sports. At Arizona State, Samples was listed as the pass game coordinator and wide receiver coach. Dillingham also told 247 Sports that he thinks Samples will be the youngest head coach in college football someday, "He could run a program today...He's ready for it."


What Does This Mean for Oregon?

Carlos Locklyn recently departed Oregon to join forces with now conference rival Ohio State. Locklyn did this despite recently agreeing to an extension, which insinuates Ohio State bought him out. Locklyn was a great coach for the Ducks and helped develop Bucky Irving and Jordan James. Oregon was prepared to go throughout the spring with a coach-by-committee plan for the running backs. That is until they had the opportunity they couldn't resist hiring Samples. Samples is young and has huge potential. The combination of youth and what seems to be his football IQ (according to people within Arizona State's building) is crucial. What you have here is a positional coach in Oregon's system who has both NFL and collegiate coaching experience, which is hard to find. Samples has already helped Elijah Badger to an All-Pac-12 honorable mention at Arizona State. Samples coached Ulysses Bentley at SMU in 2020, helping the running back become a Freshman All-American. This is a massive hire, particularly for incoming recruits.


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