Freeze on the 2017 Ole Miss Football Signing Class
Phil Longo from Sam Houston State as OC, Wesley McGriff from Auburn as DC
Freeze Transcript on the Hiring of Phil Longo and Wesley McGriff
Head coach Hugh Freeze tabbed Phil Longo, engineer of the nation's best FCS offense at Sam Houston State, as the Rebels' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach on December 16, 2016.
Sam Houston had more than 4,500 passing yards and 2,000 rushing yards in 2016. No FBS team accomplished that.
In Longo’s three years on head coach K.C. Keeler’s staff, SHSU won the Southland Conference twice (2014, 2016) and compiled a 34-10 overall record. The Bearkats advanced to the semifinals of the FCS Playoffs in 2014 and 2015 and quarterfinals this year, while rising as high as No. 1 in the FCS national polls in both 2015 and 2016.
The red zone was a key area of success for Longo’s offense. Over the last three years, no FBS team has had more red zone touchdowns than the 145 scored by the Bearkats.
Despite featuring a pass-heavy attack, Longo’s units also ranked top 10 among FCS teams in rushing in both 2014 and 2015. Sam Houston produced 1,000-yard rushers in 2014 (Keshawn Hill) and 2015 (Corey Avery) and a 900-yard rusher this past season (Remus Bulmer).
In 2015, Sam Houston’s 7,975 total yards set a Southland Conference season record and ranked third all-time in NCAA Division I FCS history. The Bearkats led the nation in total offense (531.7 ypg) and first downs per game (27.6). They ranked No. 5 in scoring (41.1 ppg) and No. 9 in rushing (254.5 ypg), while also ranking 14th in third-down conversions (45.7 percent).
The 1,275 plays run by Longo’s offense in 2015 was also a league record. Three times in the past three seasons SHSU ran more than 100 plays in a game, including a school-record 118 plays in the 2015 NCAA opening-round victory over Southern Utah.
In 2014, Longo’s attack led the Southland in rushing (241.6 ypg, 9th nationally) and red zone offense (90 percent, 8th nationally).
Regarded as an outstanding recruiter and quarterbacks coach, Longo helped Bearkats QB and first team All-American Jeremiah Briscoe set a school record with 4,602 passing yards in 2016, while Sam Houston had the first two 1,000-yard receivers in school history in the form of junior Yedidiah Louis (1,152) and freshman Nathan Stewart (1,004). Briscoe led all FCS players with 57 touchdown passes (to 10 interceptions), while ranking second nationally in passing (354.0 ypg) and third in total offense (349.9 ypg).
Like Freeze, Longo began his coaching career in the high school ranks. He was the winningest coach in school history at Parsippany Hills High School in Troy, New Jersey, serving as head coach from 1996-99. In 1999, his team competed in and won the 11th-highest scoring game in the history of high school football in the U.S. Longo earned NJ Star Ledger and Daily Record Coach of the Year honors in 1998-99 and was awarded the Sportsmanship, Ethics & Integrity Award by the National Federation of State High School Associations.
He entered the college ranks as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at D-III William Paterson University (2000-01) and was head coach at FCS La Salle in 2004 and 2005.
Other schools at which Longo has served as offensive coordinator include Slippery Rock (2012-13), Southern Illinois (2008-09) and Minnesota-Duluth (2006-07). He was a wide receivers coach at Youngstown State in 2010.
A running back at Rowan University from 1988-91, Longo was a member of the school’s first New Jersey Athletic Conference championship and NCAA Division III playoff team. The New Jersey native earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Rowan in 1992.Longo, 48, and his wife Tanya are the parents of daughters Gianna and Macaria.
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