Arizona Football

Talent Sumlin has coached runs deep with NFL first-round draft picks, All-Americans


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.

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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.

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— 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.

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— 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:

AllSportsTucson.com research:

Year Coaching Title School Player Accolade(s)
1989 Grad Asst (LB) Wash St. Dan Grayson All-Pac-10 first team
1990 Grad Asst (WR) Wash St. Phillip Bobo All-Pac-10 honorable mention
1991 WR Wyoming Robert Rivers All-WAC second team
Ryan Yarborough All-WAC second team
1992 WR Wyoming Ryan Yarborough All-WAC first team
FWAA All-American first team
1993 WR Minnesota Omar Douglas All-Big Ten second team
1994 WR Minnesota
1995 WR Minnesota
1996 WR Minnesota Ryan Thelwell All-Big Ten second team
1997 QB Minnesota
1998 WR Purdue
1999 WR Purdue Chris Daniels All-Big Ten first team
2000 WR Purdue Vinny Sutherland All-Big Ten first team
2001 Asst HC/WR Texas A&M
2002 Asst HC/OC/WR Texas A&M TE Greg Porter All-Big 12 second team
OL Taylor Whitney All-Big 12 second team
WR Bethel Johnson All-Big 12 third team
2003 TE/ST Oklahoma KR Antonio Perkins Consensus All-American
All-Big 12 first team
PK Trey DiCarlo All-Big 12 first team
2004 TE/ST Oklahoma
2005 TE/ST Oklahoma
2006 Co-OC/WR Oklahoma OT Chris Messner All-Big 12 first team
RB Adrian Peterson All-Big 12 first team
NFL first round pick
WR Malcolm Kelly All-Big 12 second team
2007 Co-OC/WR Oklahoma FB Brody Eldridge All-Big 12 first team
OL Duke Robinson All-Big 12 first team
Consensus All-American
WR Malcolm Kelly All-Big 12 second team
OL Phil Loadholt All-Big 12 second team
OL Brandon Walker All-Big 12 second team
2008 Head Coach Houston DE Phillip Hunt All-Conf USA first team
OT Sebastian Vollmer All-Conf USA first team
WR Tyron Carrier All-Conf USA second team
S Kenneth Fontenette All-Conf USA second team
TE Mark Hafner All-Conf USA second team
QB Case Keenum All-Conf USA second team
2009 Head Coach Houston QB Case Keenum All-Conf USA first team
College Football News All-American
WR James Cleveland All-Conf USA first team
KR Tyron Carrier All-Conf USA first team
OL Jarve Dean All-Conf USA second team
WR Patrick Edwards All-Conf USA second team
DL Tyrell Graham All-Conf USA second team
LB Marcus McGraw All-Conf USA second team
DB Brandon Brinkley All-Conf USA second team
2010 Head Coach Houston RB Bryce Beall All-Conf USA first team
WR Patrick Edwards All-Conf USA first team
OL Chris Thompson All-Conf USA first team
PR Patrick Edwards All-Conf USA second team
LB Marcus McGraw All-Conf USA second team
OL Isaiah Thompson All-Conf USA second team
2011 Head Coach Houston QB Case Keenum All-Conf USA first team
RB Charles Sims All-Conf USA first team
OL Chris Thompson All-Conf USA first team
TE Justin Johnson All-Conf USA first team
WR Patrick Edwards All-Conf USA first team
LB Sammy Brown All-Conf USA first team
OL Jacolby Ashworth All-Conf USA second team
WR/KR Tyron Carrier All-Conf USA second team
LB Marcus McGraw All-Conf USA second team
CB D.J. Hayden All-Conf USA second team
PR Patrick Edwards All-Conf USA second team
2012 Head Coach Texas A&M OL Luke Joeckel All-SEC first team
Unanimous All-American
NFL first round pick
QB Johnny Manziel All-SEC first team
Heisman winner
Consensus All-American
OL Jake Matthews All-SEC first team
Consensus All-American
DE Damontre Moore All-SEC first team
Consensus All-American
WR Ryan Swope All-SEC second team
2013 Head Coach Texas A&M WR Mike Evans All-SEC first team
Consensus All-American
NFL first round pick
P Drew Kaser All-SEC first team
Sporting News & SI All-American
QB Johnny Manziel All-SEC first team
NFL first round pick
OL Jake Matthews All-SEC first team
Unanimous All-American
NFL first round pick
2014 Head Coach Texas A&M OL Cedric Ogbuehi All-SEC first team
Walter Camp & Scout All-American
NFL first round pick
DE Myles Garrett All-SEC second team
WR Josh Reynolds All-SEC second team
PK Josh Lambo All-SEC second team
2015 Head Coach Texas A&M DE Myles Garrett All-SEC first team
Walter Camp & Football Writers All-American
P Drew Kaser All-SEC first team
CBS All-American
OT Germain Ifedi NFL first round pick
WR/RS Christian Kirk All-SEC second team
Athlon All-American
PK Taylor Bertolet All-SEC second team
2016 Head Coach Texas A&M DE Myles Garrett All-SEC first team
Consensus All-American
No. 1 overall NFL pick
G Avery Gennesy All-SEC first team
WR/RS Christian Kirk All-SEC first team
S Justin Evans All-SEC second team
2017 Head Coach Texas A&M AP/RS Christian Kirk All-SEC first team
DB Armani Watts All-SEC first team


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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.

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