Mike Leach wasted no time wrapping up his coaching staff this offseason as Sports Illustrated's Thayer Evans reports that Mike Leach has hired Western Kentucky's JaMarcus Shephard to coach inside receivers on the Palouse.
Western Kentucky has since confirmed that Shephard, 32, is leaving for a job at Washington State. The Cougars, however, have yet to announce the hire, but these kinds of things just take a little time to go through human resources.
Shephard takes over for Yost, who spent the last two seasons as the Cougars' inside receivers coach, but left for Oregon last week to serve as the Ducks' quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator.
Over the last two seasons at Western Kentucky, Shephard was the Hilltoppers' wide receivers coach; he added co-special teams coordinator title this season, as well. Prior to that, Shephard was a volunteer assistant and defensive analyst from 2011-12, then promoted to quality control assistant under then-head coach Bobby Petrino in 2013.
Shephard was a productive receiver at DePauw University where he graduated in 2005. Also a track and field player, Shepherd took an internship with the Philadelphia Eagles prior to returning to the university to coach track. He also spent time working at the NCAA and National Center for Drug Free Sport, in addition to a high school football coaching stop.
While Shepherd does not have any immediate connection to Leach, he has plenty of experience with spread offenses. The Hilltoppers, coming off a 12-2 season and a No. 24 ranking in the final Associated Press poll, finished the season with the No. 4 overall passing offense in the country.
Under the tutelage of Shephard, Western Kentucky had four receivers with at least 55 catches, 701 yards and six touchdowns this season, led by Taywan Taylor, a junior, who finished with the third-most receiving yards (1,467) and second-most receiving touchdowns (17) in the country.
While recruiting statistics and commitments aren't as readily published at a smaller school like Western Kentucky, it appears that Leach is adding yet another solid recruiter who should bring plenty of energy to the coaching staff.
The assumption is that new outside receivers coach Dave Nichol and Shephard will join the coaching staff on the road to recruit in the final weeks leading into signing day on Feb. 3. It's too early to tell, but there will likely be some shifting of recruiting territories for the upcoming cycle.
Here's a quick video profile from WKBO-TV in Bowling Green, Ky., on the Cougars' newest assistant, with quotes from Shephard and his players.
This post will be updated as more information becomes available.