COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri football head coach Eliah Drinkwitz announced new roles for assistants Erik Link and D.J. Smith on Wednesday. The 2022 season will mark the third for both Link and Smith with the Tigers.
Link will continue as special teams coordinator and will also coach the tight ends. The 2022 season will see the return of All-American place kicker Harrison Mevis, kickoff specialist Sean Koetting and snappers Daniel Hawthorne (field goal, PAT) and Jake Hoffman (long).
“Coach Link brings valuable coaching experience on the offensive side of the ball,” Drinkwitz said. “Our tight ends group is young and promising. I look forward to seeing the progress the group will make under Erik.”
The Tigers return five tight ends for 2022, in addition to one student-athlete signed during the early period in December.
“I am really excited for the opportunity to expand my role and coach the tight ends,” Link said. “I am looking forward to working with our offensive players and coaches in this role and can’t wait to hit the ground running.”
Smith will continue coaching the linebackers and will also serve as the staff’s recruiting coordinator. In 2022, the linebackers group will be paced by seniors Chad Bailey and Devin Nicholson, who combined for 105 tackles and 10.5 tackles for loss last season.
“Our recruiting progress is generating positive momentum for our program, in state and nationally, and we hope to continue that with Coach Smith leading the effort,” Drinkwitz said. “D.J.’s future is bright. This new role is the next step in his blossoming career.”
The Tigers’ recruiting efforts during the Drinkwitz era have produced the No. 19 class nationally in 2022 (a program best), with roster additions still to come, and the 20th-ranked class in 2021.
“I’m thankful for and humbled by the opportunity to serve as our staff’s recruiting coordinator,” Smith said. “We’re focused on keeping the best players from Missouri at home, in addition to our recruiting nationally. We want to build a roster that our fan base is excited to support and can compete for the SEC East title.”