Three candidates for FSU’s defensive ends assistant coach position

Florida State defensive ends

One of the vacant coaching positions FSU is looking to fill that very few seem to know anything about is who exactly will be the EDGE/Defensive Ends Coach. Much has been said about every other position coach on the staff, but Willie Taggart has kept this one close to the vest.

These are likely candidates I’ve heard discussed combined with my speculation based on relationships and what makes sense

Ron Burton, Mark Snyder and Eric Mathies are the three names that fit the criteria of Taggart’s other targets and hires; they’ve either coached previously with him, or just as importantly, new defensive coordinator Harlan Barnett. It would be odd if Taggart’s new DC didn’t have some of his influence on who is hired for this position.

Ron Burton is a 25-year coaching veteran who reminds me a lot of Odell Haggins. This was his fifth season at Michigan State and he apparently has a good relationship with Barnett.

Out of the gate, his impact on the Spartans’ defensive line was made with linemen earning All-Big Ten recognition nine times, including three-time first-team selection Shilique Calhoun. Four Spartan defensive linemen who Burton has coached at MSU played in the NFL last season (Calhoun, Joel Heath, Marcus Rush and Lawrence Thomas). In addition, Malik McDowell was drafted in the second round (No. 35 overall) by Seattle in the 2017 NFL Draft, while Calhoun was selected in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft by Oakland.

One of the attributes that made Barnett an attractive hire for FSU was how well the Michigan State defense did against the run. Since Burton’s first year, the Spartans have ranked in the NCAA FBS top 11 four of his five seasons.

Originally, he coached the entire defensive line, switching exclusively to defensive tackles this past fall. He is well-equipped to take over the defensive ends position.

Mark Snyder is another coaching veteran who has 12 seasons as either a head coach or defensive coordinator under his belt. After spending his first two seasons as the linebackers coach at Michigan State, Snyder switched to defensive ends in 2017. He also is the special teams coordinator.

Snyder served as the defensive coordinator at Texas A&M for the three seasons (2012-14) and had eight previous years of coaching experience in the Big Ten (Minnesota, 1997-2000; Ohio State, 2001-04). Snyder was the head coach at Marshall for five seasons (2005-09). He has coached on multiple national championship and conference championship staffs during his career.

RELATED: Could Seminoles add Alabama assistant coach to new staff?

A few notable players who Snyder has worked with as defensive coordinator at Texas A&M include first-team All-American Damontre Moore, third-round NFL Draft pick by the New York Giants in 2013, and Myles Garrett who set Texas A&M and SEC records for sacks by a freshman with 11.5 sacks. Garrett eventually was drafted No. 1 overall by the Cleveland Browns.

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