Ohio State defensive back coach Kerry Coombs is taking a job with the Tennessee Titans, joining former Buckeye assistant and now-Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, according to a report Wednesday from Yahoo’s Pete Thamel.
The news of Coombs departure is a big blow to Ohio State, which is always in danger of losing top assistants to college head-coaching and NFL jobs but had so far this offseason been able to avoid a high-profile departure. After joining Urban Meyer’s staff in 2012, Coombs has helped turn the Buckeye secondary into one of the nation’s most respected units.
In the last four years, Coombs has coached four cornerbacks who were taken in the first round of the NFL draft. Denzel Ward, who started at corner for the Buckeyes in 2017, also is projected to be a first-round pick in this year’s draft. Every one of Coombs’ starting cornerbacks has reached the NFL, according to his bio on Ohio State’s website.
Coombs also was the Buckeyes’ special teams coordinator and assistant defensive coordinator.
Coombs’ decision to join Vrabel — who played for Ohio State from 1993-96 — in Tennessee follows news earlier this week that fellow Buckeye assistant Ryan Day was offered a spot on the Titans’ staff.
Day turned down the offer, and on Tuesday, he was promoted from co-offensive coordinator to offensive coordinator, in addition to his role as quarterbacks coach.
Vrabel was an assistant in Columbus from 2011 to 2013, so he was on staff when Coombs was brought aboard in 2012.
Ohio State will surely miss Coombs’ recruiting ability. In the 2017 recruiting class alone, Coombs helped secure commitments from two five-star secondary prospects in Shaun Wade and Jeffrey Okudah, and a four-star in Kendall Sheffield, who had been a five-star talent before one season at junior college.
Rivals.com awarded Coombs its Recruiter of the Year award in 2017.
Prior to joining Ohio State, Coombs coached defensive backs and special teams at the University of Cincinnati for five seasons. Before that, he was a widely respected high school coach in the Cincinnati area.
An Ohio State spokesman declined to comment on Thamel’s report.