The “Coach ’em Up” series continues today with new tight ends coach, John Lilly.
Lilly was a quarterback, receiver, and special teamer for Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina and and was the recipient of the Golden Helmet Award as the ideal Guilford player as a senior; he was a Dean’s List student all four years and was chosen team captain that same year. Following his playing days, Lilly served as a paleographer (1995) and graduate assistant (1996-1997) for Florida State before serving as the special teams coach and recruiting coordinator (1998-2007); between 2002-2007, four of Lilly’s recruiting classes were recognized as top four in the nation, good for a 50-28 record and three ACC Championships and BCS Bowls.
In 2006, tight end Brandon Warren became the first tight end in school history to receive Freshman All-America honors and just the third tight end in school history to receive All-America recognition. His unit registered back-to-back seasons with 30 or more catches in 2005 and 2006 for the first time since 1990 and 1991.
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After his stint in Tallahassee, Lilly moved onto the Georgia Bulldogs, serving- again -as the head of the tight end and special teams units (2008-2015). He had great success developing Arthur Lynch and Orson Charles, the latter of whom was a two-time All-American and Mackey Award Finalist before being select in the four round by the Bengals; Lynch was taken in the fifth by the Dolphins. As the special teams coordinator, punter Drew Butler was a consensus All-American after leading the nation in net punting in 2009. The following year, the Bulldogs were fourth. Lilly also developed kickers Blair Walsh and Marshall Morgan. He was also the play caller for the Bulldogs in their past two bowl games, each of which were victories.
Lilly’s hire is something of deja vu: former Georgia offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer left Athens to serve the same position for the Rams for the 2014-2015 season. He was fired, and then replaced by quarterbacks coach Frank Cignetti who was replaced after a Week 13 loss this past season by tight ends coach Rob Boras. If Lilly’s track record is any sign of things to come, there’s reason to believe he will get the most out of a young, promising group.