Ra’Shaad Samples, ASU’s coveted wide receivers coach, leaves for new role with Oregon Ducks

Ra’Shaad Samples, a popular wide receivers coach at Arizona State, has left for the Oregon Ducks and will serve as an assistant head coach. (Photo courtesy of PHNX Sports)

TEMPE – The heralded Texas-to-Tempe football pipeline took a rough detour this week.

Ra’Shaad Samples, Arizona State’s wide receivers coach and one of the most dynamic recruiters in the country, has left the Sun Devils for the University of Oregon, where he will be the Ducks’ running backs coach and assistant head coach. The news comes just four months after Samples signed an extension with ASU that was meant to keep him in the Valley through the 2025 season.

Samples, 29, was also ASU’s passing game coordinator. Before he joined the Sun Devils, his resume was already stacked, as he worked his way up to an assistant coach at SMU after three years with the team from 2019-2021. Samples had also been TCU’s assistant head coach and running backs coach in 2021 before joining the Los Angeles Rams.

The loss of Samples comes smack in the middle of ASU’s spring practices, tossing yet another hurdle at a team searching for ways to jump-start its stagnant program.

“You lose your wide receiver coach at the time, but that’s the nature of adversity,” Arizona State coach Kenny Dillingham said Tuesday.

Dillingham plans on taking over the role for the interim and assisting the receiving core with individual training and fundamentals until the role is fulfilled.

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“We can adapt. We can change,” Dillingham said. “We can structure things a little bit differently until we get a guy in place that we feel like is ready to take over that room which is uber-talented.”

Although Dillingham did not give a timetable on when a new receivers coach is expected to be hired, the rumor mill has already started. New England Patriots wide receiver coach Troy Brown was reportedly spotted on Arizona State’s Tempe campus Monday, according to 247 Sports, just one day after Samples took the job at Oregon.

Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver and San Antonio Brahmas coach Hines Ward is reportedly also in the mix for the role.

After last season’s 3-9 season, the Sun Devils look for improvement in every facet, including the passing game, which last season ranked 11th in the Pac-12. For the role of receivers coach, Dillingham has stated he is looking for someone who can bring experience and development skills, while also being a leader who can demand “presence.”

Samples was the youngest positions coach in the NFL in 2022 when, at 27, he became the running backs coach for the Los Angeles Rams. He was instrumental in drafting and coaching Rams running back Kyren Williams, who had his first Pro Bowl season in 2023 with 1,144 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Arizona State takes a massive hit in the recruiting department with Samples’ departure. Samples was a key part in the Texas-to-Tempe pipeline, which saw 17 new recruits sign with ASU last season and even sparked its own hashtag – #TexastoTempe. This year, 21 players from Texas are expected to be a part of the Sun Devil roster.

Arizona State spring football practices will continue to take place until the Sun Devils’ annual spring game on April 26.

Sports Visual Journalist, Phoenix

Timothy Russell expects to graduate in May 2024 with a bachelor’s degree in sports journalism and a minor in communication studies. Russell has interned with PHNX and has worked for sports organizations such as the Arizona Cardinals and Arizona Diamondbacks.