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Report: Rams hire running backs coach from college ranks

Ra’Shaad Samples, age 27, will be joining Sean McVay’s 2022 staff

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 31 Navy at SMU Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams are expected to hire Ra’Shaad Samples as the team’s running backs coach for the 2022 season, as reported by Matt Zenitz of One3 Sports:

It was previously reported that Thomas Brown, who is now the Rams’ tight ends coach after coaching running backs the previous two seasons, would lead the search for his replacement.

Samples was hired by Sonny Dykes to join the TCU coaching staff in November 2021 - overseeing the running back position and serving as assistant head coach. Before heading to TCU, Samples was an offensive assistant at SMU for three seasons - earning promotions each year:

2019 - Offensive assistant and the program’s top recruiter

2020 - Running backs coach and recruiting coordinator

2021 - Running backs coach and assistant head coach

Samples is age 27, which means he’s likely going to be younger than a lot of players he coaches. Sony Michel, who started the second half of the regular season for LA but is now an unrestricted free agent, is also 27.

Upon his hire at TCU in November 2021, SB Nation site Frogs O’ War had the following to say about Samples - which should make Rams fans excited for the young coach:

Samples’ stock has risen dramatically over the last few years as he has orchestrated a ridiculous improvement in recruiting rankings annually for the Ponies. Growing up in Dallas and playing high school football at Skyline Dallas — under his father and DFW coaching legend Reginald — Ra’Shaad has his pulse on the DFW metroplex and has leveraged relationships with players and coaches to build a community in his hometown. He understands the importance of local marketing and has helped spur on the local campaigns highlighting recruits in the area.

At just 26 years old and with college playing experience on his resume, Samples is a home run with recruits, especially in state. “Ra’Shaad is one of those guys that just makes an impression on people very quickly,” Dykes told ESPN earlier this year. “He certainly made an impression on me. I was around him for about five minutes and I thought, ‘Man, I want to work with this guy someday.’” Samples has ingrained himself with local players and coaches, holding camps, clinics, and encouraging players to get on campus as often as possible. Those things will translate well across the metroplex with a program that has prided itself on being visible in and around Texas High Schools for the last two decades. He takes pride in building relationships and that authenticity has helped the Ponies out-recruit the Frogs the last two seasons, something that might quickly change if he switches out the Mustang logo for the Horned Frog later this weekend. And while it’s being reported that he won’t hold an OC position at TCU, he’s a coach on the rise in the industry. “He’s an elite-level recruiter,” Dykes said. “But Ra’Shaad works equally as hard at the coaching piece. In a couple of years, you’ll see him as an offensive coordinator and a playcaller, and then as a head coach. He has all the things you want. The ability to communicate, inspire people, he does that very well. He’s got a great football background having been around his dad.”

While recruiting is not an important part of an NFL position coach’s daily job, it appears that Samples is adept at building relationships and connecting with his players. We’ve seen McVay prioritize this attribute in the coaches on his staff, which is why individuals like Thomas Brown have succeeded in LA.

The Rams have not yet finalized their coaching staff for the 2022 season. While LA continues to lose coaches to other NFL teams, McVay has been able to reload his ranks with exciting, young talent - Ra’Shaad Samples is another example along those lines.