FootballScoop ranked the top 15 assistant coaching hires of the 2018 season and Tennessee’s offensive coordinator Tyson Helton ranked No. 7.
Helton is well qualified for the position. Schooled under the likes of June Jones and Jeff Brohm, Helton’s work at USC most likely saved the staff’s jobs in 2016, as redshirt freshman quarterback Sam Darnold rescued the Trojans from a 1-3 start to a 9-0 finish, capped by a thrilling Rose Bowl win and No. 3 final ranking.
Helton has made his mark in the game by working with big-armed, scoreboard-popping quarterbacks. Before he mentored the No. 3 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Helton spent two seasons as the offensive coordinator at Western Kentucky, where he guided Brandon Doughty to throw for 371.5 yards per game in 2014 and 361.1 per game in 2015, leading the Hilltoppers to a 12-2 mark, a Conference USA title and a No. 24 final ranking.
“Tyson is very detailed,” Jeremy Pruitt said earlier this year. “He’s very demanding. I’ve sat in a lot of his meetings here with the players, and he does a fantastic job. He’s very thorough; he goes through everything from getting the calls, signals, pre-snap, indicators, protections. He doesn’t coach with his hands in his pockets, I can assure you. He’s out there getting after them.”