FAYETTEVILLE — Sam Pittman had two defensive openings on his staff and he filled both this week going in different directions with the pair of hires.
He hired Dominique Bowman from Marshall to coach cornerbacks while hiring SEC vet Deke Adams to head the defensive line. Bowman is an up-and-comer in the business who was a finalist for the Ole Miss job that went to Sam Carter, who he replaces at Arkansas.
On the other hand, Adams has coached at various schools including North Carolina, South Carolina, Southern Miss, FIU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and others. He was at Ouachita Baptist for four years as well earlier in his career. After having Derrick LeBlanc and Jermial Ashley for just one year each Pittman opted for the more experienced hire.
According to a source very close to the coaching search, the decision for the defensive line came down to Adams and Eastern Kentucky University’s Jeremy Hawkins. Hawkins is considered one of the top up-and-coming defensive line coaches in the country. He is on the shortlist of another Power 5 school as well as he was at Arkansas. His hire would have been more like the Bowman hire and many of the successful hires who are on the staff now.
It’s possible that Pittman felt he was comfortable with hiring a younger coach to work the cornerbacks since he will have Barry Odom working closely with him in the secondary. After parting ways with two D-line coaches in as many seasons it’s likely Pittman is searching for some stability on the defensive line and thus why he opted for Adams.
At North Carolina Adams coached Sylvester Williams who was taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. At South Carolina, Adams coached two All-Americans in the same season. They were defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles and defensive end Jaeveon Clowney who went on to be the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft. Adams has coached other defensive linemen who went to the NFL including such as Cardia Jackson (ULM) and Jamie Collins (USM) among others.
In recruiting, Adams beat Arkansas and many other schools to land Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College four-star defensive lineman Abu Lamin. He also landed Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College four-star defensive lineman Marquavius Lewis as well. Sources indicate Adams has good recruiting ties to Mississippi and some other SEC states including Alabama, Louisiana and Georgia. He also beat Arkansas, Alabama, Auburn and others to land four-star defensive end Dante Sawyer from Georgia.