Virginia Tech is expected to hire former Texas assistant coach Stacy Searels to fill its vacant offensive line coach position, according to a Hokies athletic department official familiar with the situation.
Searels, 48, was in Blacksburg, Va., on Sunday and Monday morning for an interview with Coach Frank Beamer and offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler, among others. He spent the past three seasons working under former Texas Coach Mack Brown, but was not retained by new Coach Charlie Strong.
Searels would replace Jeff Grimes, who left Virginia Tech after just one season as the program’s offensive line coach last week to take the same job at LSU. A former three-year starter on Auburn’s offensive line, Searels has also previously worked at Georgia, LSU, Cincinnati and Appalachian State. He earned $450,000 last year at Texas, and held the title of assistant head coach.
With Searels as offensive line coach, Texas never finished outside the top 50 nationally in rushing offense. The Longhorns averaged more than 174 yards per game on the ground last season, more than 50 yards more than the Hokies.
Beamer has moved quickly on this hiring because of its proximity to National Signing Day on Feb. 5. Already, the program has watched three-star offensive line recruit Brady Taylor renege on his oral commitment and instead pledge to Ohio State Coach Urban Meyer following an official visit this past weekend.
Taylor, a native of Columbus, Ohio, only received a scholarship offer from the Buckeyes two weeks ago and indicated on Twitter on Monday that playing for his hometown school has always been a dream of his. “This is the best decision for me,” Taylor wrote.
It’s the second recruit in the past week that has flipped an oral commitment on the Hokies. Richmond area defensive back Cequan Jefferson, a 2013 prospect who did not academically qualify last year and spent this past fall at Fork Union Military Academy, announced last week he now plans to play his college football at Temple.
But two of Virginia Tech’s four remaining 2014 offensive lineman recruits — Colt Pettit of Deschler, Ohio, and Tyrell Smith of Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, N.J. — have re-committed to Virginia Tech since Grimes’s departure. Billy Ray Mitchell of Paramus, N.J. and Holland, Pa., native Eric Gallo have not publicly announced their intentions with Grimes at LSU now, but the Hokies are optimistic both prospects will remain in the fold.