Wells adds six coaches to new Texas Tech football staff
Texas Tech head coach Matt Wells announced six additional coaches to his staff Wednesday with the hiring of Jovon Bouknight (outside receivers), Julius Brown (defensive backs), Steve Farmer (offensive line), DeAndre Smith (running backs), Luke Wells (tight ends/inside receivers) and Dave Scholz (strength and conditioning).
The six new additions all come from Wells’ previous staff at Utah State and join offensive coordinator David Yost and defensive coordinator Keith Patterson, who arrived in Lubbock with Wells last Friday.
“I’m really excited to get all these coaches here in Lubbock and invested in this program quickly,” Wells said. “The opportunity to hire these guys provides continuity, the same voice, and hopefully makes a more seamless transition to finishing strong in recruiting. They are all quality men and recruiters who will invest their time, effort and energy in our players so Texas Tech Football reaches the level Red Raider Nation deserves. We are all happy to be part of this community and look forward to great things ahead.”
TEXAS TECH COACHING STAFF
Matt Wells – Head Coach
Keith Patterson – Defensive Coordinator
David Yost – Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
Jovon Bouknight – Outside Receivers
Julius Brown – Defensive Backs
Steve Farmer – Offensive Line
DeAndre Smith – Running Backs
Luke Wells – Inside Receivers/Tight Ends
Dave Scholz – Strength & Conditioning
Jovon Bouknight – Outside Receivers
Bouknight (pronounced Juh-vonn Bo-night) is more than familiar with Wells after spending the previous 10 years in various roles at Utah State, most recently as the program’s outside receivers coach the past two seasons.
One of the top wide receivers in Mountain West history, Bouknight began his career at Utah State as a graduate assistant in 2009 and then was promoted to his first full-time position as wide receivers coach a year later. He added passing game coordinator responsibilities to his duties from 2014-15 and then was named the Aggies’ co-offensive coordinator in 2016.
His tenure at Utah State coincided with the program’s most-successful stretch in school history as the Aggies reached seven bowl games during that time and claimed the 2012 Western Athletic Conference title. Utah State had only six bowl game appearances in its history and none since 1997 prior to his arrival in Logan in 2009.
The Aggies boasted one of the nation’s top offenses several times during his tenure, including this past season as Utah State currently ranks third nationally in scoring offense (47.2 points per game) entering its New Mexico Bowl matchup with North Texas. Utah State has also ranked among the most lethal teams in the country through the air in 2018, averaging 288.8 passing yards per game which ranks 18th nationally.
Bouknight has coached several of Utah State’s top receivers in its history, namely current Cincinnati Bengals wideout Hunter Sharp, who led the Mountain West and ranked 28th nationally with nine receiving touchdowns as a senior in 2015. Sharp also finished second in the Mountain West and 19th in the FBS with 71 receptions that season and third in the league with 76.3 receiving yards per game.
The senior season was a nice finishing touch on a successful career for Sharp as he ended his tenure at Utah State ranked ninth all-time with 137 career receptions and 16 receiving touchdowns. He was 14th among Aggie receivers with 1,770 receiving yards during his career.
Bouknight joined the Utah State staff after one season as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Wyoming. He was an offensive graduate assistant during the 2008 campaign, working with the Cowboys’ wide receivers.
As a player, Bouknight was a standout wide receiver at Wyoming where he concluded his career ranked 20th all-time in NCAA history for both career receiving yards (3,626) and career receptions (250). He also ranks second all-time in Mountain West history in each of those two categories.
In addition, Bouknight remains one of Wyoming’s top pass catchers in its history as he is the school’s all-time leader in both all-purpose yards (5,921) and kickoff return yards (2,016). He also ranks second in career receptions and third for receiving yards after catching at least two passes in all 47 games of his collegiate career. That streak remained a Wyoming record up until 2014.
Bouknight was among the nation’s best receivers as a senior in 2005 as he was named one of 15 semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award. He also earned honorable mention All-America honors from College Football News and first team All-Mountain West accolades after hauling in 1,116 yards through the air. He ended that season ranked ninth in the FBS for average receiving yards per game (101.5), 10th in all-purpose yards per game (160.45), 11th in kickoff return average (27.75), 12th in average receptions per game (7.0) and 15th in total receiving yards.
A native of Denver, Colorado, Bouknight received his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and health promotion from Wyoming in 2006. He is married to Jeanine Hernandez, a former Utah State softball student-athlete. The couple has one son, Breeze, and one daughter, Brene.
Julius Brown – Defensive Backs
Brown joins the Texas Tech staff following three seasons at Utah State where he oversaw the Aggie cornerbacks in 2016 and then the entire defensive backs group in each of the last two years.
Over his three seasons, the Aggies became one of the top teams in the country in creating turnovers as Utah State ranked sixth nationally with 29 takeaways in 2017 and then third this season with 28. Part of that success has stemmed from Brown’s defensive backs group as the Aggies picked off 13 passes in 2017 (tied for 45th nationally) and 18 so far this season, which is tied for the FBS lead.
In addition to sharing the FBS lead for interceptions this season, the Aggies also rank among the nation’s elite units in defensive touchdowns (2nd), turnover margin (8th), fourth down conversion defense (25th), passing efficiency defense (26th), fumbles recovered (28th), third down conversion defense (29th) and scoring defense (38th).
Brown mentored Jalen Davis in 2017, helping the senior become just the ninth first team All-American in Utah State history. Davis was recognized by the Walter Camp Foundation as a first team All-American and a second-team honoree by the Associated Press, Football Writers Association and Phil Steele after finishing tied for fifth nationally with 20 passes defended and 11th in the FBS with five interceptions.
For his career, Davis set the Utah State school record with 37 pass breakups and 48 passes defended. His 11 career interceptions, meanwhile, ranked tied for fourth all-time in program history. He signed an NFL free agent contract following his senior season with the Miami Dolphins where he is a member of the practice squad.
Backed by Davis and fellow All-Mountain West performer Dallin Leavitt in the secondary, Utah State surrendered only 182.5 passing yards per game in 2017, which ranked 19th in the FBS. Utah State also ranked second in the Mountain West and 24th in the nation for passing efficiency defense (116.6) and tied for sixth in the FBS with 29 forced turnovers. The Aggies created 16 of those turnovers via forced fumbles, which closed the year tied for second nationally. Utah State also ranked fourth in the FBS with five defensive touchdowns.
The Aggies allowed only 176.5 passing yards per game in Brown’s first season in 2016 as Utah State ranked third in the Mountain West and 10th nationally in the category. Brown mentored Daniel Gray that season who went on to sign an NFL free agent contract with the Arizona Cardinals.
Prior to his stint at Utah State, Brown spent two seasons as the secondary coach and recruiting coordinator for his alma mater at Boise State. The Broncos combined for a 21-6 record those two seasons, including a 12-4 mark in Mountain West play.
His tenure coincided with two bowl victories as Boise State topped No. 10 Arizona, 38-30, in the 2014 VIZIO Fiesta Bowl and then Northern Illinois, 55-7, in the 2015 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. The Broncos also won the 2014 Mountain West title, defeating Fresno State, 28-14, in the championship game.
Similar to his success at Utah State, Boise State’s secondary was among the nation’s leaders in interceptions after picking off 22 passes in each of his two seasons. The Broncos led the Mountain West in interceptions both seasons and ranked fifth nationally in 2014 and fourth in 2015.
Darian Thompson recorded five picks alone in the 2015 campaign to rank third in the conference and 20th nationally, earning All-Mountain West first team and second team All-America honors each of those two seasons. Thompson went on to be selected in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the New York Giants.
Fellow defensive back Donte Deayon added four interceptions in 2015 to garner All-Mountain West second team accolades twice under Brown. Like Thompson, Deayon also found his way on to the New York Giants’ roster as a free agent signee in 2016.
After finishing a stellar playing career for the Broncos, Brown earned his first coaching position in 2005 as the defensive backs coach at Capital High School in Idaho. He returned to his alma mater a year later as a graduate assistant, a role he remained in for three seasons until he was promoted to Director of Player Personnel in 2009.
Brown helped elevate Boise State’s recruiting efforts for three seasons before earning his first coaching position overseeing the cornerbacks at Troy in 2012. He spent one seasons with the Trojans and then moved to Arkansas State as the cornerbacks and nickel backs coach as well as the recruiting coordinator.
As a player, Brown was a three-year starter and four-year letterwinner for the Broncos from 2000-03, earning honorable mention All-WAC honors after leading the conference in passes defended as a senior. Brown was a member of the 2002 and 2003 WAC Championship teams and helped lead the Broncos to victories in the 2002 Crucial.com Humanitarian Bowl and 2003 PlainsCapital Fort Worth Bowl.
Brown, a native of Stockton, California, is a 2006 graduate of Boise State with a degree in business administration. He and his wife, Cassidy, have one daughter, Lyric.
Steve Farmer – Offensive Line
Farmer brings 20 years of coaching experience, including nine seasons as an offensive coordinator, to Texas Tech as he joins Wells’ inaugural staff in Lubbock as the offensive line coach.
Farmer is following Wells to the South Plains after spending the last three seasons as Utah State’s offensive line coach where he helped build a balanced Aggie offense that was one of just four teams in the nation to finish the regular season as a top-20 passing offense and a top-35 rushing offense in 2018.
It all starts up front, and Farmer’s line has been key in establishing the most prolific offense in school history and the No. 3 scoring offense in the nation this season. The Aggies have rushed for 2,642 yards on 5.6 yards per carry in 2018 for their 10th-consecutive season of 2,000 yards.
Under Farmer’s guidance, four Aggie offensive linemen received 2018 All-Mountain West honors. Center Quin Ficklin collected first-team accolades, while Roman Andrus was named to the second team and Rob Castaneda and Sean Taylor were named honorable mention selections.
After inheriting a Utah State offensive line that ranked 71st in rushing (165.1 YPG), 63rd in yards per carry (4.46) and tied for 42nd in sacks allowed (1.62 per game) in 2015, Farmer completed an overhaul of the unit as the Aggies finished 2018 ranked 34th in rushing (203.7 YPG), 15th in yards per carry (5.55) and tied for third in the nation in sacks allowed (0.75 per game).
Prior to Utah State, Farmer spent 11 years at Louisiana-Monroe over two different stints sandwiched around a year as offensive coordinator at Illinois State (2009). From 2010-15, Farmer was the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at Louisiana-Monroe where he mentored 17 offensive players to All-Sun Belt Conference honors. During the 2012 season, his offense broke or matched 45 school records to power the Warhawks to eight wins and an appearance in the Independence Bowl, their first bowl since transitioning to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level in 1995.
Farmer served as the offensive line coach for the Warhawks from 2004-06 and then was promoted to offensive coordinator for the following two seasons. Prior to ULM, his first five years were spent at Eastern Michigan, Eastern Illinois and Illinois State.
Farmer played center for Illinois State from 1997-98 and was a member of the Redbirds’ 1998 FCS playoff team. He earned first-team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference honors in 1998 and graduated from ISU in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education. He began his collegiate playing career at one of the most successful junior college programs in the country, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M.
Farmer and his wife, Amy, have a daughter, Rebekah, and a son, Luke.
Dave Scholz – Strength & Conditioning
Scholz arrives in Lubbock after serving as the head strength and conditioning coach during all six seasons of Wells’ tenure at Utah State. In his position, Scholz will oversee the entire strength and conditioning program for the Red Raiders, while also working closely with the athletic training and nutrition programs.
Scholz has spent the majority of his career at Utah State, beginning as a graduate assistant from 2006-08 and then as an assistant strength and conditioning coach from 2008-10. He was hired by Wells as the Aggies’ head football strength and conditioning coach prior to the 2013 season.
In his first stint with the Aggies, Scholz assisted with all matters of the football program and served as the head of sports nutrition. He also was the lead strength and conditioning coach for both the softball and volleyball programs.
As a graduate assistant, Scholz tutored under current Minnesota Vikings head strength and conditioning coach Mark Uyeyama, who served in a similar capacity at Utah State from 2004-07. Uyeyama later hired Scholz as a strength and conditioning intern with the San Francisco 49ers in 2011.
Scholz was promoted to a strength, nutrition and conditioning assistant with the 49ers in 2012 where he was responsible for the programming of quarterbacks and kickers as well as all the nutritional aspects of the organization, including meal planning.
Scholz has earned his CSCS Certification from the NSCA, Precision Nutrition Certification, ISSA Sports Nutrition Certification, BioSignature Modulation, PICP Levels I & II Certification, Metabolic Analytics Certification, Kinetic Chain Enhancement Upper and Lower Body Certification, and Functional Range Conditioning Mobility Specialist Certification (FRCms).
Scholz, who played football at Wisconsin-Eau Claire from 2002-03, was a national-level powerlifter at the 275-power class. He earned his bachelor’s degree in exercise fitness from Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2004 and went on to obtain his master’s degree from Utah State in health, physical education and recreation in 2008.
Scholz is married to the former Kara Krupski.
DeAndre Smith – Running Backs
Smith, a veteran running backs coach with 20 years of experience at the college level, enters his third stint alongside Wells after spending the 2018 season in a similar role at Utah State. The two were also assistant coaches together at New Mexico in 2008.
In his lone season at Utah State, Smith mentored Darwin Thompson to All-Mountain West second-team honors as the junior has rushed for 951 yards and 14 touchdowns entering the Aggies’ upcoming bowl game. Thompson, who has also caught 22 passes for 336 yards and two touchdowns, is averaging 7.2 yards per carry this season, which leads all Mountain West rushers and ranks eighth nationally. He also ranks among the top 15 rushers nationally in both total touchdowns (16) and rushing touchdowns.
Prior to his arrival at Utah State, Smith spent the previous five seasons at a power-five conference school with stints at Syracuse (2013-15), Purdue (2016) and North Carolina (2017). He was also an assistant at Illinois from 2010-11 before returning to New Mexico for his second stint with the Lobos in 2013.
Smith began his collegiate coaching career as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Indiana State from 1999-00. He moved from there to Northern Illinois where he was the running backs coach and special teams assistant from 2001-04. He was part of the Miami (Ohio) staff as assistant head coach and running backs coach from 2005-07.
Over his two decades of coaching, Smith has mentored four All-Americans and has had nine 1,000-yard rushers, namely Mikel LeShoure at Illinois and Michael Turner and Garrett Wolfe at Northern Illinois. LeShoure was a standout for the Fighting Illini in 2010 as he set school records for rushing yards (1,697), scoring (122 points) and rushing touchdowns (17) en route to earning All-Big Ten first team honors as well as second-team All-America accolades. He was later selected by the Detroit Lions in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
Turner and Wolfe, meanwhile, both earned All-America honors with the Huskies after ranking among the top rushers in the country. Turner was named a second-team All-American twice in his career (2002-03) after leading the Mid-American Conference in rushing, while Wolfe earned honorable mention accolades in 2004 after ranking fifth nationally in rushing yards (1,656). Both became NFL Draft selections as Turner was picked in the fifth round by the San Diego Chargers in 2004, while Wolfe was a third-round pick by the Chicago Bears in 2017.
Smith, a native of St. Louis, was a four-year letterwinner at quarterback for Southwest Missouri State where he was the 1990 Division I-AA Offensive Player of the Year as well as an All-American. He was named the Gateway Conference Player of the Decade from 1985 to 1995.
Smith, who earned his bachelor’s degree in organizational communication from Southwest Missouri State in 2002, played professionally for the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League in 1992 and then in France in 1993.
Smith and his wife, Lori, have two sons, Ryan and Donovan, and a daughter, Ashley. Ryan played wide receiver at Duke from 2013-16.
Luke Wells – Tight Ends/Inside Receivers
Luke Wells, a veteran offensive coach with extensive ties to the state of Texas, has joined the Texas Tech staff as the tight ends and inside receivers coach.
Wells heads to the South Plains after spending the previous six seasons in various roles at Utah State. He was the Aggies’ co-offensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator from 2013-16, working with the tight ends the first three years and then quarterbacks in 2016. Wells has worked as Utah State’s inside receivers and tight ends coach each of the past two seasons.
Wells’ hire returns him to the Big 12 Conference where he was a student assistant at Oklahoma from 1999-01 and the receivers and tight ends coach at Iowa State from 2009-12. Wells has recruited the state of Texas for most of his career, including his entire tenure at Utah State.
Utah State has ranked among the nation’s elite offenses in the country this season as the Aggies rank third nationally in scoring offense, averaging 47.2 points per game, which trails only College Football Playoff participants Alabama and Oklahoma. His tight ends and inside receivers have helped the Aggies average 288.8 yards per game through the air, which is 18th in the FBS currently.
Wells mentored one of the top tight ends in Utah State history during his tenure in Wyatt Houston, who finished his career with 86 receptions for 933 yards and nine touchdown, all of which rank second all-time among Aggie tight ends. Houston, who earned honorable mention All-Mountain West honors as a senior in 2017, went on to sign a free agent contract with the Carolina Panthers.
In Wells’ first season, the Aggies set school record for pass completions (297), total offensive plays (1,073), touchdown passes (30) and first downs (310). Utah State scored 445 points that season and attempted 481 passes that season, which both rank second in the school record book. Utah State’s tight ends also set the single-season school record for touchdown passes with nine, topping the previous record from 1993.
D.J. Tialavea thrived under Wells’ direction in 2013 before signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars as an NFL free agent in 2014. Tialavea went on to join the Falcons’ organization a year later and was a member of the franchise when Atlanta played in Super Bowl LI.
Prior to joining the Utah State staff, Wells helped push Iowa State to consecutive bowl games with appearances in the 2011 New Era Pinstripe Bowl and the 2012 AutoZone Liberty Bowl.
Wells arrived in Ames following six seasons at Louisiana-Monroe. Wells was an offensive graduate assistant in 2003 before being promoted to wide receivers coach from 2004-08, the final two years of which he spent as the Warhawks’ recruiting coordinator. Louisiana-Monroe signed its highest-rated class in school history with Wells overseeing its recruiting efforts.
Wells earned his first coaching position managing the wide receivers at Denton High School in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex in 2002. He was previously a student assistant at Oklahoma from 1999-01 when the Sooners claimed the 2000 Big 12 Conference crown and the BCS National Championship.
Wells earned his bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma in secondary education in 2002. He and his wife, Coby, have a son, Walker, and a daughter, Kinsley. His brother, Matt Wells, is Texas Tech’s head coach.