By Larry Vaught
Kentucky linebacker coach Jon Sumrall’s success is not going unnoticed.
Sumrall, a former UK linebacker, joined Mark Stoops’ staff at UK for the 2019 season and his players sung his praises all season. He’s also become a terrific recruiter as five of the 13 verbal commitments in UK’s 2021 recruiting class are players who had Sumrall as the lead recruiter.
Al.com sports reporter Matt Zenitz interviewed over 20 coaches and officials from college football and the NFL, including five head coaches he reported, to find out who the Southeastern Conference’s rising assistant coaches under 40 years old were.
Sumrall naturally made the cut.
“Sumrall is viewed as a future head coach.A former Kentucky linebacker, the 38-year old Sumrall was an important part of Neal Brown’s staff at Troy from 2015 to 2017 and is now entering his second season as the inside linebackers coach at his alma mater after a year as Ole Miss’ linebackers coach in 2018,” Zenitz wrote.
“Sumrall, who was a defensive coordinator at San Diego in 2010 and 2011, was contacted about multiple Power Five defensive coordinator jobs this past offseason but opted to remain at Kentucky. That came after Sumrall finished as the runner-up to Chip Lindsey for the Troy head coaching job in early 2019.”
Sumrall was a relentless player at UK from 2002-04 and had a team high 72 tackles in 2004. A back injury ended his playing career before the 2005 season but not his football career as he has coached at San Diego, Tulane, Troy and Mississippi along with UK.
His recruiting prowess showed in the 2020 class when four-star Mississippi defensive tackle Josaih Hayes picked UK over Ole Miss and Mississippi State on signing day. He was also the top recruiter for 2020 signees D’Eryk Jackson, a three-star linebacker, and Josh Jones, a three-star offensive lineman.