It looks like Terry Joseph's coaching vacancy at the University of Tennessee has been filled by The Citadel defensive coordinator and safeties coach Josh Conklin.
According to GoVols247's Wes Rucker's story, Conklin has an active email account in UT's system and is listed in the online directory as a member of the football program. Sources indicated to them that Conklin will be announced as the Vols' new assistant.
If this comes to fruition, with an almost-complete football staff overhaul -- everybody but Darin Hinshaw and Jim Chaney -- the Vols appear to have a better mix of experience and up-and-comers than they had last year. UT head coach Derek Dooley commented that there were maybe too many young guys in the film room last year, and with the additions of Sal Sunseri, John Palermo, Sam Pittman and Charlie Coiner, there are a few "graybeards" around to go along with Chaney.
Conklin -- a 2003 graduate of Dakota State University -- fits the fresh-face mold, however, and is thought in coaching circles to be an up-and-comer in the business. He will complement new cornerbacks coach Derek Ansley, who was hired away from Central Florida a month after taking his first full-time job in Orlando following a graduate assistant term at Alabama. The Vols also have young coaches with Hinshaw and Jay Graham.
Conklin began his coaching career at South Dakota State, where his units ranked near the top of the Great West Conference. He has since coached the secondary at Division I FCS power Wofford before moving on to DC at The Citadel. The Bulldogs finished third in the Southern Conference in total defense in Conklin's first season and improved to second last year in scoring defense as well as third in total defense. He also coached Cortez Allen at The Citadel. Allen was a fourth-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers last year.
He is believed to have some recruiting ties to upstate South Carolina, where UT needs to become a bigger presence again. Hopefully, he'll be a good coach. Really don't know enough about him to say one way or the other, but the best-case scenario is he comes in and is a tireless recruiter like Peter Sirmon. He already has proven to be a successful coach everywhere he's been -- but the SEC is a HUGE step up.
Tennessee is believed to have gauged the interest of several other candidates before settling on Conklin for the position. Welcome to Big Orange Country, Josh! Now, get to work. You've got some big recruiting shoes to fill with Joseph's departure. It probably won't take a lot for him to be a coaching/technique upgrade.