The ninth, and final, assistant under Mike Leach at Washington State will reportedly be Jeff Choate, currently at Boise State. Choate is a jack-of-all-trades type of assistant, working primarily with the Broncos' special teams while also dabbling in the nickel backs, linebackers and running backs previous. It's assumed Choate will be working on the defensive side of the ball, but whether he works with the secondary or linebackers -- or both! -- is yet unknown.
The news comes, again, from Football Scoop on Twitter.
Heard tonight that Boise State's Jeff Choate is leaving to join Mike Leach's staff. Confirmed.— FootballScoop Staff (@footballscoop) January 11, 2012
This is where I note that we've now cornered the St. Maries market, y'all. Choate graduated from St. Maries in Idaho, which should sound familiar: It's the same school Eric Russell graduated from (Russell is a few years older; I'm assuming they know each other well!).
In addition to the obvious connection, Choate began his coaching career in Idaho, working at Post Falls high school. He eventually went to Utah State, then Eastern Illinois, and finally Boise State, where he's been since 2006. He knows the area, has a connection to the staff in Russell, and seems like a solid fit. And for some strange reason, I get the feeling special teams will be a big emphasis under Leach. Call it a hunch, or something.
Choate rounds out the assistant coaching staff, which we assume will be announced shortly. The ninth spot has remained vacant, following Mike Smith's decision to stay with the New York Jets after being offered an assistant coaching decision.
While we're at it, click the links below to learn more about all the reported hires!
Offensive line: Clay McGuire
Inside Receivers: Eric Morris
Outside Receivers: Dennis Simmons
Running Backs: Jim Mastro
Defensive Line or Linebackers: Paul Volero
Defensive Line: Joe Salave'a
Defensive Coordinator: Mike Breske
Special Teams: Eric Russell
Edit: Added a video interview after the jump (ht footballin)