Insider Look: Justin Wilcox

Justin Wilcox is the youngest out of all the ASU coaching candidates, but is nonetheless one of the more appealing names mentioned in the search. Devils Digest invited Josh Woodward, Publisher of InsideTennessee.com to talk about this ASU coaching candidate.

Devil Digest : Ever since Arizona State's head coaching search began, Justin Wilcox's name has been repeatedly mentioned. What in your opinion makes him so a good candidate?

Josh Woodward: "He was very successful at Boise State and that is why Derek Dooley went after him. He was one of the candidates to replace Will Muschamp who left Texas for Florida. He's a son of a (NFL) Hall of Famer (linebacker Dave Wilcox), so he comes from a great football family.

"He's a very cerebral, well spoken coach, and also a player's coach. He does a lot of teaching, going from station to station in practice, teaching techniques. He relates well with players because he was a player, and he's so young he probably listens to same music the players do. So he gets along very well with the players and they like him.

"He takes his job very seriously. Tennessee had a four-game losing streak this year and when you saw Wilcox in practice he looked like he hasn't slept in days. He's one of those guys that takes it personally and will lock himself in the office trying to figure out how to fix it. He's the type of coach that you would want to play for. He's young and he hasn't been a head coach, so maybe that is something that working against him being a candidate."

DD: Granted, he has been just two years at Tennessee but how would you rate his recruiting abilities?

JW: "Tennessee doesn't have him go in the road a whole lot. He's more of a closer when the recruits come here for an official visit. He recruits the West Coast and Tennessee has had a couple of commits from there. They also have him close on some junior college defensive linemen. So he has more of a head coach role when it comes to recruiting – closing the deal. Even though he is a West Coast guy he adapted quickly to the Southeastern Conference. There have been no transition issues whatsoever.

"He is really good friends with Peter Sirmon, the linebackers coach, which in my opinion is the best recruiter on the Tennessee staff. If Wilcox leaves for a head coaching job it will be interesting to see if Sirmon leaves with him. Sirmon is quickly becoming one of the hottest recruiting coaches in the country. Right now he has about eight big time players that are committed to Tennessee."

DD: How would you describe his defensive scheme?

JW: "His defense is very sound and shows you multiple looks. There was talk going from a 4-3 to a 3-4, and even though they haven't totally changed the front he still will show you different looks. It today's college football you have to show different looks when you go against so many different offensive schemes and he's able to do that."

DD: What do you think the chances are of him potentially leaving Tennessee for the ASU job or any other job that would present itself?

JW: "There are already rumors here about ASU going after Wilcox. I know Texas came after him last year. He's making about $700,00 and Tennessee could probably bump him up you a $1 million but I don't if that would enough to keep him.

"It would big loss for Tennessee if he left, especially this time of year because they have a lot of early enrollees who are suppose to sign this month (on December 21st). So if he left they may have a hard time signing all those guys. It would be even a bigger loss if Sirmon left with him, but I think if Wilcox left Sirmon would be named defensive coordinator at Tennessee. But Justin Wilcox is a quality guy and good defensive coordinator that will be a great head coach one day."


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