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Reports: Josh Heupel finalizing staff with Mike Ekeler

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 07 Coastal Carolina at Kansas Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Josh Heupel’s staff is reportedly complete. The ninth and final assistant on the Tennessee staff will be Mike Ekeler, first reported by Austin Price. Ekeler will handle special teams duties, along with helping out on the defensive side of the ball.

Ekeler and Heupel were graduate assistants together at Oklahoma in 2004. Ekeler spent time with Les Miles at LSU in 2007, before jumping to Nebraska with Bo Pelini after that. He’s worked at USC, Indiana, North Carolina and Georgia, even spending time with Jeremy Pruitt in 2014-15 in Athens as a linebackers coach.

In 2020, Ekeler was with North Texas in his second stint with the Mean Green. Ekeler was the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at North Texas in 2016.

Ekeler will assist the defensive staff, which consists of defensive coordinator Tim Banks, secondary coach Willie Martinez, defensive line coach Rodney Garner and linebackers coach Brian Jean-Mary.

Kevin Steele remains employed by Tennessee following a truly bizarre deal with the previous regime, but he must be let go before the Ekeler hire can be announced.

So Heupel’s staff is now reportedly complete with a versatile assistant, now we wait for the official announcement. We should have a chance to see this entire staff working together soon, with spring football on the horizon.