Release by Sun Devil Athletics- Zak Hill, who spent the previous four seasons with Boise State as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, has been named offensive coordinator for Sun Devil Football. Derek Hagan will be promoted from his role as an offensive analyst into a full-time assistant coaching position while Prentice Gill – who most recently served a similar position as an offensive analyst at Oregon – will join the staff in an assistant coaching role in addition to serving as the team’s assistant recruiting coordinator.
TEMPE – Zak Hill, who spent the previous four seasons with Boise State as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, has been named offensive coordinator for Sun Devil Football, as announced by head coach Herm Edwards.
Additionally, Edwards also announced that all-time Sun Devil great Derek Hagan will be promoted from his role as an offensive analyst into a full-time assistant coaching position while Prentice Gill – who most recently served a similar position as an offensive analyst at Oregon – will join the staff in an assistant coaching role in addition to serving as the team’s assistant recruiting coordinator.
Zak Hill, Offensive Coordinator
“Zak is very well versed in offensive football,” says ASU Head Coach Herm Edwards. “He comes from winning programs and he played the quarterback position. I like that. He’s good at building an offense around the personnel that he has available to him. He will force the defense to adjust with multiple formations and personnel groups. His style fits the DNA of what we want on our coaching staff. He’s an excellent teacher.”
Hill joined the Boise State staff in January 2016 as co-offensive coordinator and was named the program’s sole OC prior to the 2017 season. In his four seasons at Boise State, Pro Football Focus graded his offense out in the Top-40 each season and 31st or better in three of those. In 2017 and 2018, PFF scored the Boise State passing game in the Top-15 nationally while the receivers have earned a Top-25 score in each of his four seasons.
“I am really excited about this opportunity and I truly believe it is a great situation for me at ASU,” Hill said. “I appreciate Coach Edwards believing in me and having the trust to bring me on and I am thankful to Ray Anderson and the Sun Devil administration for their support in making this happen. I am really excited to get down there and I know we have some exciting weapons to work with. I look forward to putting together an explosive, fun offense that our fans will love to watch.”
“I am humbled at this opportunity. I also want to thank everyone at Boise State for a great four years and I am grateful for all the support I have received from Bronco Nation,” he added. “I would especially like to thank Coach Harsin for his leadership and my years at Boise State and the opportunity he afforded me to grow as coach.”
The 2019 Bronco program enters the bowl season ranked 19th nationally after winning its fourth Mountain West title since joining the conference in 2011. Boise State rode its potent and well-rounded offense to a 12-1 record this season, qualifying for its 18th consecutive bowl game and 22nd-straight season with a winning record – the longest active streak in the country.
The 2019 Bronco offense was 38th in total offense (441.5 ypg) and 14th in the country in averaging 36.8 points per game, despite relying heavily on a true freshmen playing at quarterback and running back. Boise State improved in scoring offense in each of Hill’s three seasons as the sole offensive coordinator.
Like the Sun Devils, Boise State was one of just four FBS programs to start the 2019 campaign with a true freshman at quarterback in Hank Bachmeier, who exploded on the scene with 407 passing yards – a Boise State record for a debut start – and a road victory against Florida State in the season opener. Bachmeier appeared in just seven games – and left the game early in one of those – due to injury, but accounted for 1,760 yards (251.4 ypg) and nine touchdowns in the games he played.
Despite Bachmeier being out for the final four games of the regular season and Mountain West Championship, the Broncos rallied to five consecutive victories to end the season and averaged 36.0 points per game in that streak. The Broncos rallied behind senior quarterback Jaylon Henderson, who threw for 944 and 10 touchdowns the two interceptions and added two rushing touchdowns and over 100 yards on the ground in the final four games of the year.
True freshmen running back George Holani rushed for 979 yards on the season – fifth among freshmen running backs in the FBS – and is just 21 yards away from giving Boise State its 11th-straight season with a 1,000-yard back, which would be tied for the second-longest streak in college football history. The Broncos rushed for 174.15 yards per game – the 31st-most in the nation.
On the receiving end, the Broncos had a potent 1-2 punch in senior John Hightower (48 catches, 923 yards, 8 touchdowns) and sophomore Khalil Shakir (60 catches, 834 yards, 6 touchdowns). Boise State’s 30 touchdowns by air this season were 18th nationally while the passing offense ranked 35th at 267.4 yards per game.
Shakir was the second-highest graded wide receiver in the nation, according to Pro Football Focus, with a grade of 89.5 – Hill’s second receiver to be ranked in the Top-10 nationally by PFF in the last three years. Guard Jake Stetz was the third-highest graded offensive guard in the nation (83.7) while tackle Ezra Cleveland was the 23rd-best graded tackles in the FBS. Tight end John Bates was among the top blocking tight ends in the country (ranked in the Top-20 in both run and pass blocking) while receiving the 21st-highest graded among tight ends in the FBS.
In 2018, quarterback Brett Rypien picked up a fourth-straight All-Mountain West accolade while also earning Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year honors, the first such recognition for a Bronco quarterback since Kellen Moore earned the award in 2011. Rypien concluded his career as the Mountain West’s all-time leader in career 300-yard passing games (21), completions (1,036) and passing yards (13,581). He also ranked second in league history in both wins by a starting quarterback (37) and career attempts (1,619), and tied for second in career touchdown passes (90).
Running back Alexander Mattison led the Mountain West and ranked eighth nationally in rushing in 2018 (1,415), giving Boise State 10-straight seasons with a 1,000-yard back, the longest active streak in the country and tied for the third-longest streak in college football history, behind only North Carolina (12; 1973-84) and Texas (11; 1995-2005).
Behind the production of Rypien and Mattison, Boise State concluded the season ranked in the top 25 nationally in both total offense (21st; 459.5 yards per game) and scoring offense (20th; 35.4 points per game).
Rypien was the 13th-highest graded quarterback in the nation last season while Mattison thrived behind Cleveland, who was the fifth-highest graded tackle in the FBS.
In 2017, Hill’s first as the lone offensive coordinator, Boise State saw record-setting production in the passing game. Wide receiver Cedrick Wilson set the Boise State single-season record with 1,511 yards receiving, earning first-team all-league honors. He was the sixth-highest graded wide receiver in the nation (87.7).
Rypien also picked up his third-straight All-MW accolade, while Mattison was honored for the first time following a campaign in which he picked up 1,086 yards rushing.
In 2016, Hill’s debut campaign with the Broncos, the Boise State offense led the Mountain West and ranked 21st nationally in total offense (472.8). Hill also oversaw the progression of Rypien, then a sophomore, who garnered his second-straight first-team All-MW accolade after leading the league and ranking 12th nationally with 3,646 passing yards. Rypien also ranked 15th nationally in passing efficiency (155.7).
Hill joined Boise State from Hawai’i, where he was named offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in December 2015. Prior to that, Hill served as passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Eastern Washington for seven seasons (2009-15). In Cheney, Hill coached some of the top quarterbacks in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), including Walter Payton Award (given to the nation’s top FCS player) finalists Vernon Adams, Jr. (2012-14) and Matt Nichols (2009), and 2014 Grey Cup champion and Calgary Stampeders (CFL) quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell (2010-11).
He helped oversee the offense of an Eastern Washington program that made the FCS playoffs five times over his seven years and captured the 2010 FCS national title. The Eagles also reached the FCS semifinals twice more, in 2012 and 2013, and won or shared the Big Sky Conference crown six times.
Eastern Washington topped the FCS rankings in passing offense (353.3 ypg) in 2015, with quarterback Jordan West finishing the year with 3,002 passing yards (300.2 ypg, second in FCS) and 30 touchdown passes (fourth in FCS). The Eagles also scored 34.6 points per game, 18th-best in FCS.
Hill was a record-breaking quarterback at Central Washington from 1999-2003. He broke more than 20 league records and passed for 8,882 career yards and 76 touchdowns while completing 60.2 percent of his passes. In 2002, Hill led Central Washington to an 11-1 record and was named a third-team All-American. He was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2013.
Following his playing career, Hill became a student assistant at EWU from 2004-05, where he worked with the 2005 Walter Payton Award winner, quarterback Erik Meyer.
Hill then spent three seasons at Hillsboro High School in Oregon, serving as offensive coordinator in 2006-07. He took over as head coach in 2008 and led the school to an appearance in the state Class 5A playoffs.
Hill earned his bachelor’s degree in school health education from Central Washington in 2004. He and his wife, Hollie, have one daughter, Valerie Ann, and one son, Brett Thomas.
Derek Hagan, Assistant Coach – Offense
“Derek is someone who knows what our program is all about. He understands the importance of what we are trying to do and the type of program we’re trying to build,” Edwards said. “He’s invested because he’s a Sun Devil, it’s important to him. He played the wide receiver position at the highest level and he’s always needed a chance to impart that knowledge to younger players. Now, he can.”
A 2015 Dun Devil Hall of Fame Inductee, Hagan has spent the previous two seasons as an offensive analyst with the Sun Devils and spent a majority of that time working closely with the coaching staff overseeing the team’s receivers.
While working as an analyst, the Sun Devil receivers have experienced two of the most prolific campaigns in program history behind N’Keal Harry and Brandon Aiyuk.
Harry, a first round selection by the New England Patriots in the 2019 NFL Draft and All-Pac-12 selection, finished third in program history in both career receptions (213) and career receiving yards (2,889). That latter tally was within 50 yards of second in program history, despite the fact that seven of ASU’s 10 all-time leading receivers did so in four seasons. With 22 career receiving touchdowns, Harry finished tied for 5th in ASU school history.
In his junior season, Harry ranked in the Top-30 nationally in receiving touchdowns (9/21st), receiving yards (1,088/15th), receiving yards per game (90.7/18th) and receptions per game (6.1/24th). Harry posted an 83.9 overall grade from Pro Football Focus, among the Top-15 highest graded wide receivers nationally and the 7th-highest graded offensive player in the Pac-12 – regardless of position.
For the third consecutive season in 2019, the Sun Devils laid claim to a 1,000-yard receiver with Brandon Aiyuk entering the bowl game eighth nationally and second in the Pac-12 with 1,192 receiving yards on the year while his 99.3 receiving yards per game are also 13th in the FBS and second in the league. He is fifth in ASU single season history in single-season receiving yards and within 18 of fourth and 56 of third.
Aiyuk was tabbed a First Team All-Pac-12 choice at receiver in one of the elite conferences in the nation at the position. He was additionally selected as a First Team choice return specialist. Aiyuk finished the regular season sixth nationally and first in the Pac-12 in all-purpose yards at 155.83 per game – the most for any wide receiver in the country.
Hagan played wide receiver for the Sun Devils from 2002-05, a period in which the program enjoyed some of the greatest offensive success in school history. He appeared in 50 games across four seasons at Arizona State, finishing his career as one of the greatest receivers in both school and Pac-12 history.
Hagan left Arizona State as the Pac-12 record holder for career receptions with 258, ranks second all-time in the conference with 3,939 yards, and broke five school records, including receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, 100-yard games and receiving yards per game as he averaged more than 100 yards per game in his final two seasons.
The two-time semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award earned First-Team All-Pac 12 honors after his final season in Maroon and Gold. A captain during his senior season, Hagan is the owner of two of the top-five highest single-season receiving yardage totals in school history and finished with more than 150 receiving yards in eight games. He caught a pass in 41 consecutive games to end his career and had at least one reception in 48 of 50 career games.
He was selected in the third round of the National Football League draft by the Miami Dolphins, where he spent three seasons. Hagan would move on to play for the New York Giants, Oakland Raiders and Buffalo Bills before ending his career with the Tennessee Titans. Hagan compiled 148 receptions for 1,734 yards and seven touchdowns during his nine-year NFL career.
Previously, Hagan has worked alongside Tim Healey and Jeff Van Raaphorst as the sideline reporter covering Arizona State football for The Sun Devil Sports Network.
Prentice Gill, Assistant Coach – Offense/Assistant Recruiting Coordinator
“Prentice is a young, up-and-coming star in our business. He’s an excellent recruiter and he’s already demonstrated that with us,” Edward said. “He understands the DNA of the type of player that it take to win. He can identify those players and recruit them to our model. He’s worked at USC and at Oregon, so he’s very familiar with our conference. He’ll add a wealth of information and recruiting knowledge to our staff.”
Gill has extensive experience with two of the premier programs in the Pac-12, most recently spending the 2019 season as an offensive analyst at Oregon. Prior to that, Gill spent three seasons (2016-18) as a graduate assistant at USC and worked primarily with the wide receivers. He was also a staff assistant in the USC football office in 2014. Gill is regarded as a talented young recruiter with strong ties in the Southern California area.
The 2019 Oregon Ducks won the Pac-12 Championship and will play in the Rose Bowl following a commanding victory over Utah in the league title game. The Duck offense scored as the eighth-highest graded program in the FBS this season, according to Pro Football Focus. Johnny Johnson III emerged in a big pay over the final month of the season, recording 422 yards over the final four games with five touchdowns after having just 396 yards and two touchdowns in the first nine games of the year.
The 2018 Trojans featured a trio of talented receivers in Michael Pittman, Tyler Vaughns and Amon-Ra St. Brown, who accounted for over 2,00 receiving yards between them.
In 2017, USC was 16th nationally in passing offense while setting school season records for passing yards (4,157) and passing first downs (192). Wide receiver Deontay Burnett had 86 catches for 1,114 yards with nine touchdowns as USC played in the 2017 Cotton Bowl.
In 2016, USC was 25th in pass offense (276.4) and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster moved up to fourth on USC’s career receptions list and was an NFL Draft second rounder as USC advanced in the Rose Bowl.
He spent 2015 as a graduate assistant at San Jose State, working with the defensive backs. The Spartans won the Cure Bowl.
He began his coaching career in 2012 as the receivers coach at Los Angeles (Calif.) Harbor College (the team played in the Golden State Bowl) and he held a similar position at Long Beach (Calif.) City College for the 2013 season.
Gill was a wide receiver at Old Dominion for two seasons (2010-11). As a 2010 junior, he had 41 catches for 686 yards (16.7 avg) with five touchdowns, including a trio of 100-yard outings. As a 2011 senior, he caught 42 passes for 591 yards (14.1 avg) with seven scores as the Monarchs advanced to the second round of the NCAA FCS playoffs.
Gill spent two seasons (2008-09) as a wide receiver at Los Angeles Harbor Junior College. As a 2008 freshman, he had 18 catches for 216 yards (12.0 avg) with a touchdown. As a 2009 sophomore, he had 48 receptions for 651 yards 13.6 avg) with five touchdowns.
He was a wide receiver and defensive back at Cathedral High in Los Angeles (Calif.), where he caught 55 passes for 772 yards (14.0 avg) with five touchdowns and made 29 tackles and three interceptions as a 2007 senior. He previously played at Narbonne High in Harbor City (Calif.).
Gill received his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Old Dominion in 2012 and studied for his master’s degree in communication management at USC.