ATHENS — Georgia is turning to a familiar name to fill the wide receivers coach opening, as it will reportedly hire James Coley to replace Bryan McClendon.

Matt Zenitz of 247Sports was the first to report the hiring. Georgia has not yet officially announced the hire

Coley previously coached at Georgia from 2016 through 2019, including serving as Georgia’s wide receivers coach for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Coley also worked as the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator at Georgia, before departing the program after the 2019 season. Coley was replaced by Todd Monken, who helped lead the Bulldogs to back-to-back national championships.

Coley worked at Texas A&M from 2020 through 2023, working as a member of Jimbo Fisher’s staff. Coley had been set to be the wide receivers coach at South Carolina prior to joining Georgia’s staff. According to Coley’s contract terms, he is set to owe South Carolina $450,000 as a buyout.

In addition to having a previous working relationship with Smart and the Georgia staff, Coley is regarded as one of the best recruiters in South Florida. In his first stint at Georgia, he helped land the likes of James Cook, Tyson Campbell and Tyrique Stevenson.

McClendon recently departed the program to become the wide receivers coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. McClendon had been the wide receivers coach for each of the past two seasons.

Georgia also saw running backs coach Dell McGee depart the program, as he was named the head coach at Georgia State. McGee had been the last remaining offensive member from Smart’s first staff at Georgia, though Coley now rejoins the staff.

The Bulldogs have had to replace four assistants this offseason. Fran Brown left to become the head coach at Syracuse, while Will Muschamp moved into an analyst role for the Bulldogs. Donte Williams was hired to be the defensive backs coach, while Travaris Robinson took over Muschamp’s role as the co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach.

Coley will have plenty of talented players to work with at Georgia in this coming season. The Bulldogs have to replace Ladd McConkey and Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint but do return Dillon Bell, Dominic Lovett and Rara Thomas. Georgia also added three players via the transfer portal in London Humphreys, Colbie Young and Michael Jackson III.

The Bulldogs are expected to begin spring practice in March. G-Day is set for April 13.

What Georgia football is getting in James Coley