Georgia head coach Kirby Smart announced that Scott Fountain and Cortez Hankton are joining his staff for the 2018 season.
For Fountain, it is as if he never left. Fountain was a Georgia analyst in 2017 but decided to take the special teams coordinator job with Mississippi State in January. However, Fountain reversed course when given the opportunity to take an on-field role at Georgia.
Smart also hired former Vanderbilt receivers coach Cortez Hankton Wednesday. Those two hires finalizes Georgia's coaching staff.
"We're excited about both of the guys coming on our staff," Smart said.
With these two hires, Smart said some shifting on the offensive coaching is likely to happen but is to be determined.
Smart said Fountain was instrumental in turning around Georgia's special teams units. As an analyst, Fountain helped the special teams unit go from one of the worst its in the country in 2016 to being a productive group. A lot of that also had to do with place-kicker Rodrigo Blankenship and punter Cameron Nizialek excelling at their positions. Georgia's kickoff and punt coverage units saw great improvement throughout the season.
"He was probably one of the biggest assets in our program last year," Smart said. "Everybody has made a big deal about the turnaround in special teams. He was really responsible for coaching our coaches, and he was able to bring us, and me, some ideas to how we practice and some innovative things that he's done, changing what days we did different things, and just organizational things that I thought really helped us. With that, we were able to move up in special teams rankings and do a lot better, and to have him back I think is phenomenal for us."
Hankton arrived at Vanderbilt in 2015 and spent three seasons coaching receivers. Prior to joining Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason's staff, Hankton was an assistant at Dartmouth from 2012-14. Hankton played college football at Texas Southern before embarking on a six-year NFL career. Hankton played for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2003-06, which was followed by stints with the Minnesota Vikings (2007) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2008). Hankton then spent three years in the now-defunct United Football League before becoming a coach.
"We got to visit and meet with and just thought the world of him," Hankton said. "He carries himself in a first-class manner, the way we want to do things at University of Georgia. He's a very intellectual guy. He also played the position, and any time you play the receiver position, I think it helps you tremendously with kids. He was an overachiever as a player. Here's a guy that played on several teams, and he kept making teams. He made them through toughness, his route running, his special teams play, and those are all things we want in our wide receiver room. So we're excited about both those guys."