New Arizona football coach Kevin Sumlin has a background coaching talent that should make quarterback Khalil Tate and other Wildcats take note.
Sumlin has coached offenses and called plays for teams that featured three Heisman Trophy winners — Oklahoma quarterbacks Jason White and Sam Bradford and Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel. He has coached seven NFL first-round picks, including six in his six years at Texas A&M from 2012 to last season.
The list of talent he has worked with also ranges from quarterback Drew Bledsoe with Washington State when he started in 1989 to prolific receiver Christian Kirk, an All-SEC first-team all-purpose and return specialist selection, last season with Texas A&M.
Kirk, a junior from Saguaro High School in Scottsdale, has entered the NFL draft and figures to be another Sumlin player taken in the first round. ESPN’s Todd McShay has him going to Baltimore with the 22nd pick.
Sumlin has been indirectly and directly involved with the coaching of these players:
— Bledsoe at Washington State was the No. 1 pick overall in the 1993 NFL draft. Sumlin was a graduate assistant coaching receivers when Bledsoe became a starter in 1990.
— WR Ryan Yarborough of Wyoming became a second-round pick in 1994. Sumlin coached the Cowboys’ receivers and Yarborough in 1991 and 1992.
— QB Drew Brees of Purdue was a second-round pick in 2001. Sumlin coached the Boildermakers’ receivers from 1998 to 2000, all with Brees as the starting quarterback.
— White was the 2003 Heisman winner and Bradford won it in 2008. Sumlin was on the Sooners’ staff from 2003 to 2007 as first the tight ends and special teams coach from 2003 to 2005. He then called offensive plays as the co-offensive coordinator in 2006 and 2007. He directly coached All-American return specialist Antonio Perkins with the Sooners in 2003. Also during his time with Oklahoma, WR Mark Clayton was a two-time All-American in 2003 and 2004 and RB Adrian Peterson emerged as a 2007 first-round draft pick.
— QB Case Keenum was a two-time All-Conference USA first team selection in 2009 and 2011, after Sumlin became Houston’s head coach in 2008.
— Manziel became a Heisman winner in Sumlin’s first season at Texas A&M in 2012. Sumlin also coached 10 different All-Americans and the six first-round picks with the Aggies. The most notable standouts include DE Myles Garrett (the No. 1 pick overall in last year’s draft), OL Luke Joeckel (All-American and 2013 first-round pick), OL Jake Matthews (All-American and 2014 first-round pick), DE Damontre Moore (All-American), WR Mike Evans (All-American and 2014 first-round pick), OL Cedric Ogbuehi (All-American and 2015 first-round pick) and OL Germain Ifedi (2016 first-round pick).
Here is a list of the top talent Sumlin has coached in his 29-year career:
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.