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Four Candidates to be Virginia's Next Wide Receivers Coach

By Matt Newton,


Who will Tony Elliott hire to replace Marques Hagans as UVA's wide receivers coach?

For the second time this offseason, Tony Elliott has another significant vacancy to fill on his Virginia football coaching staff. On Monday, UVA associate head coach and wide receivers coach Marques Hagans announced that he would be taking the wide receivers coach position at Penn State , leaving Virginia after 12 seasons with the Cavaliers. Though it will be nearly impossible to completely fill the void left by Hagans, who coached nine of UVA's top 15 all-time wide receivers and leaves a strong legacy behind both as a player and as a coach, it is pivotal that Elliott and the Cavaliers find a suitable successor to take over as wide receivers coach at Virginia moving forward.

Who will Tony Elliott hire to fill the wide receivers coaching vacancy? Here's four candidates to replace Marques Hagans as the wide receivers coach at Virginia:

Latrell Scott - Passing Game Coordinator/Tight Ends/Inside Receivers, East Carolina

Latrell Scott gets the nod at the top of our list of candidates due to his significant ties to collegiate football in the Commonwealth of Virginia and as a result of his brief previous stint as the wide receivers coach at UVA back in 2009. When Mike London left Richmond to take the head coaching job at Virginia in 2010, Scott was hired as London's successor as the head coach of the Spiders. Since then, Scott served as the tight ends coach at JMU in 2012, the head coach at Virginia State from 2013-2014 and Norfolk State from 2015-2020, before moving to East Carolina to again coach tight ends, where he has been for the last two seasons. Scott also coached wide receivers at Western Carolina, VMI, Richmond, and Tennessee before he arrived at Virginia in 2009. His familiarity with coaching and recruiting in the Commonwealth of Virginia and his experience coaching wide receivers at several levels in college football makes Latrell Scott a prime candidate to be the next wide receivers coach at UVA.

Tim Smith - Former Wide Receivers Coach, Valparaiso

A former Virginia wide receiver from 2009-2013, Tim Smith currently sits 13th on UVA's all-time receiving yards list, finishing his career with 1,591 yards and 10 touchdowns on 97 receptions. Smith began his coaching career at Oscar Smith High School in Chesapeake in 2015, coaching the team to a state championship in 2017 as the offensive coordinator. He got his first collegiate coaching job at Lincoln University in Oxford, Pennsylvania, serving as both the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at Lincoln from 2018 to 2021, before joining the staff at Valparaiso as the wide receivers coach for the 2022 season. Smith was in charge of recruiting Maryland, Virginia, Washington D.C., Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina in his one season at Valparaiso, pivotal recruiting territory for UVA and the ACC. Smith coached a pair of All-PFL (Pioneer Football League) wide receivers in 2022, including First-Team selection Solomon Davis.

This week, Tim Smith announced his resignation from his position as the wide receivers coach at Valparaiso and expressed enthusiasm about pursuing his next coaching opportunity. Smith doesn't have the most extensive coaching resume, but he has shown a lot of promise early in his career and knows what it takes to be a successful wide receiver at the University of Virginia.

Kyle Cefalo, Passing Game Coordinator/Wide Receivers Coach, Utah State

Currently the passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach at Utah State, Kyle Cefalo is a bright young coach who seems primed to make a leap to the Power Five level. Cefalo has ten years of collegiate coaching experience, including stops at Boise State, Arkansas State, Maryland, and Utah State, where he has spent the last two seasons. In his first season at Utah State in 2021, Cefalo was nominated for the Broyles Award, presented to the top assistant coach in college football. Cefalo helped Utah State win its first-ever Mountain West Championship that season, with three of his receivers hauling in at least ten touchdowns for the first time in program history. Cefalo coached a Third-Team All-American and Biletnikoff semifinalist in Deven Thompkins as well as another All-Mountain West selection in Derek Wright. In 2022, Cefalo added another all-conference selection to his resume as Brian Cobbs was named to the All-Mountain West Second Team. Cefalo has coached in nine bowl games and has been part of three conference championship teams in his ten-year coaching career at the collegiate level.

Derrick Lett - Wide Receivers Coach, Arkansas State

Another talented young coach who deserves a look at the Power Five level, Derrick Lett has been a college football coach for ten years, including stints at Tennessee (2013-2014), Yale (2015-2020), and Arkansas State, where he has coached wide receivers for the last two seasons. In those two seasons, Lett has coached three All-Sun Belt wide receivers, including a Second-Team selection in Corey Rucker and a Third-Team honoree in Te'Vailance Hunt, both in the 2021 season. Arkansas State's passing offense ranked 11th in the nation in 2021, averaging 313.9 yards per game. Additionally, Lett helped Yale capture two Ivy League Championships in 2017 and 2019 during his time coaching running backs for the Bulldogs. Lett's time as an assistant at Tennessee also gives him critical experience at the SEC level.

This will be Tony Elliott's second coaching hire this offseason, as UVA hired Terry Heffernan as the new offensive line coach to replace Garett Tujague, who left to take the same job at NC State. Virginia is looking to hire a new wide receivers coach for the first time since 2013, as Marques Hagans has brought stability and productivity to UVA's wide receivers unit for the better part of the last decade. Filling the massive hole left by Marques Hagans in the Virginia football program will present yet another significant challenge for Tony Elliott.

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