Tulane football coach Willie Fritz said Wednesday he had completed his staff, allowing him to focus 100 percent on the very unfinished business of signing a recruiting class that will bear little resemblance to the group of commitments under predecessor Curtis Johnson.
Fritz hired ULM assistant and Monroe native Slade Nagle as a tight ends coach.
Although Fritz did not reveal the identity of the other two assistants because they had not completed their paperwork, a source close to the school revealed the running backs coach will be Liberty’s Jamaal Fobbs, a St. Aug graduate and the brother of Grambling coach Broderick Fobbs.
Nagle’s stint in Monroe lasted less than a month after he joined coach Matt Viator in leaving McNeese State for ULM. He worked with the running backs and coordinated special teams the past four years at McNeese State. He was the quarterbacks coach and receivers coach Northwestern State from 2006-08, an assistant special teams coach at LSU in 2009, co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Texas State in 2010 and the running backs/assistant head coach at Central Arkansas in 2011.
Nagle is the son of former LSU defensive back and long-time Louisiana coach Johnny Nagle.
“The Nagles are one of the top families in Louisiana football,” Fritz said. “He knows everybody in the state.”
Fobbs spent the past four years at Liberty as a running backs coach under Turner Gill following two years in the same position at Chattanooga. He worked with the running backs at LSU in 2005 and 2006.
The addition of Fobbs gives Tulane six assistants with Louisiana connections, including defensive backs coach Jason Rollins, the lone holdover from Johnson’s staff, offensive coordinator Doug Ruse and defensive coordinator Jack Curtis, who both spent eight years at Northwestern State, and defensive line coach Kevin Peoples, who was at Northwestern State in 2001.
With the recruiting dead period ending Thursday, Fritz and his staff will be active until signing day on Feb. 3 trying to fill a class that has only five commitments left from Johnson’s tenure — wide receivers Chris Johnson of Scotlandville and Jacq’co Price of Crowley, St. Charles Catholic defensive back Eric Lewis and defensive ends Deion Rainey of Southern Lab and Jonathan Wilson of South Plaquemines.
Among the latest de-commitments — many by mutual agreement with the coaches — are Miramar (Fla.) offensive lineman Obinna Nwankwo, Holy Cross linebacker Kenny Hebert, Lake Charles defensive tackle Ronald Cherry, Atlanta wide receiver Quentavius Monday and Southern Lab defensive back Jonard Robinson.
The Wave has no remaining commitments from the New Orleans area.
Since Fritz arrived, Tulane has picked up commitments from Hoover (Ala.) defensive back P.J. Hall, Fayetteville (Ga.) Fayette County defensive back Sean Harper, Dothan (Ala.) Northview kicker Coby Neenan and Scotlandville defensive end DeAndre Williams.
Tallahassee (Fla.) Godby quarterback Darius Bradwell and Tyrone (Ga.) Sandy Creek linebacker Will Harper signed and enrolled in the spring semester.
Linebacker Edward Williams, a heralded recruit who signed with Tulane in 2013 after his parents refused to sign his letter of intent to Texas Tech, is suspended from school and will not be part of the team.
Johnson did not allow Williams, a Warren Easton graduate, to play this fall because of academic concerns. He started eight times as a sophomore, making 38 tackles, and played in seven games as a true freshman.
Fritz said linebacker Rene Fleury, from McDonogh 35, also is gone. Fleury played in 10 games as a freshman and the opener this fall before getting suspended.
Fritz said he has a walk-on friendly policy and would offer an open invitation to try out for the team. The tryout date will be announced right after signing day. ... Spring practice will start in March, but the exact dates have not been specified. Fritz said the spring game would be either April 16 or 23 in conjunction with a home baseball game.