New Tennessee State University head football coach Eddie George’s inaugural coaching staff is loaded with NFL experience.
First, George hired former Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Rams assistant Brandon Fisher as TSU’s new defensive coordinator. Then he targeted former Cleveland Browns and Las Vegas Raiders head coach Hue Jackson to be the Tigers’ offensive coordinator.
Now, George has added Pepe Pearson as the Tigers’ running backs coach and Cory Harkey as the team’s next special teams coordinator and tight ends coach, according to John Brice of Football Scoop.
The 30-year-old Harkey spent five seasons with the Rams from 2012-16, finishing his career with 27 receptions, 215 yards and three touchdowns. He signed with L.A. as an undrafted free agent in 2012 out of UCLA, where he had 28 receptions for 231 yards and two touchdowns under Rick Neuheisel.
Harkey spent the last two years as the special teams coordinator and tight ends coach at Azusa Pacific University in California.
Pearson played running back at Ohio State, finishing as the program’s ninth all-time leading rusher with 3,121 yards. He went undrafted in 1998 but signed with the San Francisco 49ers. Pearson also had stints with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In addition, Pearson spent time with the Rhein Fire in NFL Europe and the Las Vegas Outlaws in the first iteration of the XFL. After retiring from professional football in 2001, he started his coaching career with Division II Ohio Dominican University from 2004-14 as running backs coach. Since then, Pearson has had stints at Youngstown State and Marshall — both as running backs coach.
Pearson ranks fourth on Ohio State’s all-time rushing list in career rushing attempts (659) and single-season rushing attempts (299), ninth in single-season rushing touchdowns (17) and 11th in rushing yards (3,076).