In another Twitter non-announcement announcement, Miami grad assistant DJ Hernandez notified everyone Thursday night that he is joining the coaching staff at Iowa:
Packin so i can move to Iowa ASAP to begin my new coaching position wit the Hawkeyes.Thx coach golden n evry1 at UM for gr8 experience.— DJ Hernandez (@DjHernandez14) January 4, 2013
Hernandez later announced he will be coaching tight ends, a position technically left vacant last season but effectively filled by graduate assistant David Raih. Prior to last season, Iowa had been one of the few programs in the country with a dedicated tight ends coach, a position previously held by recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson. The Iowa athletic department refuses to acknowledge that any of this is taking place, because any mention of the word "Twitter" results in Reese Morgan torching the huts and killing the livestock:
Iowa SID Steve Roe said today he doesn't anticipate any confirmation or announcements about football coaching changes coming any time soon.— Pat Harty (@PatHarty) January 4, 2013
DJ Hernandez played college football at UConn, spending three years at quarterback before moving to wide receiver for his final two seasons (as an aside, Rivals indicates that Iowa did recruit him in 2003, though he did not receive a scholarship offer). He graduated in 2009, and spent a year playing and coaching in Austria before returning to Connecticut and becoming the head coach at Southington High School. While at Southington, he was caught using an armband lost by an opposing player to decode the opponent's playcalls and served a one-game suspension for the infraction. He left after one season.
Hernandez then spent a year as quarterbacks coach at Brown University before accepting a graduate assistant position with Miami for the 2012 season. As his online bio explains it:
DJ Hernandez was hired as an offensive graduate assistant after serving as the quarterbacks coach at Brown University in 2011. Hernandez assists in all offensive efforts, but spends much of his time coaching the wide receivers and assisting wide receivers coach George McDonald.
That means Hernandez is probably not the in to South Florida recruiting that many had initially hoped, though he could solidify Iowa's ties to the Northeast
There is no word yet on whether Hernandez will join as a full-fledged assistant or a graduate assistant. He coached quarterbacks and receivers at Miami, however, so a lateral-at-best move to another graduate assistant position coaching a lower-level position role doesn't make much sense. We're assuming he's taking Erik Campbell's spot on the staff, and that Iowa will again have a full-time tight ends assistant.
It's worth mentioning that Hernandez is the brother of Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, and that Aaron Hernandez was Brian Ferentz's pupil at New England. We're not going to wade into the rumored rifts between coaches on the current staff -- message boards exist for a reason -- but regardless of whether his brother had anything to do with the selection, DJ Hernandez is clearly a Brian Ferentz pick. That would be fine if Brian Ferentz was the offensive coordinator. He's not, though, making Iowa the first team in collegiate history to let its wide receivers coach select offensive assistants.
This also means there will likely be at least one more hire on the offensive staff, as Ferentz's inevitable move to wide receivers coach opens up offensive line. All teams are limited to nine assistants, which means someone's assignment will have to change to make the addition of a tight ends coach work. Kirk Ferentz could well be coaching offensive line himself next year to make room. Otherwise, someone is going to have to move.