JONESBORO, Ark. (AStateRedWolves.com) – Arkansas State head football coach Blake Anderson has announced Monticello, Ark., native Brian Early has been named the Red Wolves' defensive line coach.
With previous coaching stops at Central Arkansas, Arkansas-Monticello and three Arkansas high schools, Early brings deep ties to the state with him after most recently serving as the University of Arkansas Defensive Quality Control Coach in 2013. His journey to Arkansas State also included a stop on the coaching staff at Minnesota State-Mankato.
Early has coached or recruited eight All-Americans, two conference players of the year and three NFL Draft picks in his career that spans over 18 years, including 10 at the collegiate level.
Prior to joining the Arkansas staff, Early spent the previous four years as defensive coordinator at Fayetteville High School, where he helped the Bulldogs to three straight 7A state championship game appearances and back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2012. The 2011 and 2012 Fayetteville teams were ranked in the top 50 nationally by MaxPreps.
His 2012 Fayetteville defense included Brooks Ellis, a two-time Arkansas High School Defensive Player of the Year, and Alex Brignoni, whose 19 career interceptions ranked first in the state's largest classification.
Early went to Fayetteville High School after coaching defensive line for four years and linebackers for one year while also serving as special teams co-coordinator at Central Arkansas. In his time with UCA, the Bears won two conference championships in two different classifications, taking the Division II Gulf South crown in 2005 and the FBS Southland Conference title in 2008.
They twice led the conference in scoring defense, and Larry Hart was named the 2008 Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Year. UCA also led the nation in net punting in 2008, and in 2007 All-American Tristan Jackson led the country with an average of 23.6 yards per punt return. Early also coached the two highest-drafted players in UCA history as Hart was a fifth-round pick by Jacksonville in 2010 and Jacob Ford was a sixth round selection by Tennessee in 2007.
During the 2002 and 2003 seasons, Early was the linebackers coach and co-special teams coordinator at Minnesota State-Mankato. He was the defensive coordinator and strength and conditioning coordinator at West Memphis High School in 2001, helping lead the Blue Devils to the state quarterfinals.
In 1999 and 2000, he was the linebackers coach and strength and conditioning coordinator at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. There, he coached Danielle Rollins, who led the nation in total tackles in 1999 and in tackles per game in 2000 and was named the Gulf South's Defensive Player of the Year in 2000.
Early began his coaching career in 1994 as defensive coordinator and strength and conditioning coordinator at Greenland High School. He helped lead the Pirates to back-to-back conference championships in 1997 & 1998. The '98 team was the first to complete an unblemished regular season and recorded the first playoff win in school history.