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Pitt assistant Rob Harley reportedly accepts role at Arkansas State

Pitt linebackers coach Rob Harley is reportedly on the way out at Pitt, as he accepted a position on Butch Jones’ staff at Arkansas State on Tuesday. John Brice of Football Scoop first reported the news, but no specifics were provided on the position Harley will occupy.

Harley has served on Pitt’s staff for the last six years, and in addition to his role as Pitt’s linebackers coach, in which he oversaw the development of players like Phil Campbell, SirVocea Dennis, Kylan Johnson and Quintin Wirginis, he also served as the team’s recruiting coordinator for the last four years.

During that time, Pitt has trended in the right direction, both in terms of its defense and recruiting, and Harley has brought out the best in linebackers like Johnson and Dennis, who had breakout years at Pitt in 2019 and 2020.

After seeing limited results at Florida, Johnson transferred to Pitt in 2019 and came up with seven sacks and 11 tackles for losses — both career-high marks. And Dennis, a former two-star recruit, tied All-American defensive end Rashad Weaver for the team lead in tackles for losses, with 14.5 as a sophomore in 2020. He also ranked second on the team in total tackles, with 57, trailing Damar Hamlin.

At Arkansas State, Harley will join a staff with plenty of Power Five coaching experience. Aside from Jones, the staff will include Jon Shalala and Matt Wilson, who were pried away from Mississippi State, as well as Andy Kwon, who was hired away from Alabama.

With the departure of Harley, only two original members of Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi’s staff, which was first assembled in 2015, remain. Those two coaches are Pitt tight ends coach Tim Salem and Pitt running backs coach Andre Powell. At this time, it is unclear who Pitt might select to fill its two open positions.