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Tennessee announces addition of Andrew Goodman, Robert Ayers Jr. to football staff

NCAA Football: Alabama at Tennessee Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Heupel has finalized two additions to his support staff today, officially bringing in Andrew Goodman as his next director of football operations and Robert Ayers Jr. as a defensive grad assistant.

Goodman joins Tennessee after spending a year at UConn, helping to get the Huskies going in the right direction. UConn made a bowl game for the first time since 2015, and Goodman held the same title there that he will hold in Knoxville going forward. Goodman made previous stops at Brown and Penn State. He’s a former receiver at Penn State, playing from 2008-2011.

Ayers Jr. returns to Knoxville to advance his coaching career after spending a decade in the NFL. He spent 2020-2022 in the high school ranks, coaching at Knox Catholic and Oak Ridge. Ayers Jr. now returns to his alma mater, looking to take the next step.

The 18th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, Ayers Jr. spent five seasons with the Denver Broncos. He then spent time with the New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Detroit Lions before retiring in 2019.

Ayers Jr. was a mainstay on the Tennessee defensive line from 2005-2008. He totaled 113 tackles with 31.5 tackles for loss in 48 games played at defensive end, capping his four-year career with All-SEC honors as a senior.

Ayers Jr. now joins Josh Heupel’s staff, where he will be working with defensive coordinator Tim Banks, and more than likely defensive line coach Rodney Garner.