ATHENS ― Georgia is set to raid another SEC coaching staff. Cortez Hankton, the receivers coach at Vanderbilt, is expected to be hired by UGA, barring a snag, according to someone close to the program.
Hankton, who is 37, spent the last three seasons at Vanderbilt, after three seasons as the receivers coach at Dartmouth. He also played wide receiver in the NFL for six years.
This will fill out coach Kirby Smart’s staff, though roles for several assistant coaches have not been confirmed. James Coley spent the past two seasons as receivers coach, and he rebuffed an offer from Texas A&M, which wanted him to be offensive coordinator.
“Cortez is simply one of the brightest, most impressive young coaches in college football,” Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason said upon Hankton’s hiring in 2015.
Vanderbilt had two of the SEC’s top 14 receivers this season, based on receiving yards per game. Senior Trent Sherfield had 50 catches for 729 yards and 5 touchdowns, and sophomore Kalija Lipscomb, whom Hankton recruited, had 37 catches for 610 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Hankton played at Texas Southern and was undrafted in 2003. Jacksonville signed him, and he played in 16 games as a rookie, notching 17 catches for 166 yards. He played four years for the Jaguars, catching 34 passes for 310 yards and 2 touchdowns. Then he spent a year with Minnesota and another year with Tampa Bay.
After his NFL career ended, Hankton kept playing for and working with a future and former NFL coach: Jay Gruden was his coach with the Florida Tuskers of the United Football League, and Marty Shottenheimer coached him with the Virginia Destroyers in 2011.
Then Hankton, who had dabbled in coaching on a part-time basis, went into coaching full time, spending three months as a volunteer assistant at Central Florida before moving on to Dartmouth as receivers coach.
Hankton is a native of New Orleans, and both of his parents were police officers.