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Report: Falcons hiring South Carolina’s Des Kitchings as running backs coach

Arthur Smith is pulling the team’s newest running back coach from college.

Carolina Panthers v Tennessee Titans Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Arthur Smith has been searching far and wide for his new coaching staff, plucking names not otherwise connected to the new head coach like Dave Ragone from the Chicago Bears for offensive coordinator.

Now Smith is reaching into college for his running back coach. Per multiple reports, Des Kitchings, running back coach from the University of South Carolina will join the Falcons in the same role.

Running backs coach Des Kitchings is leaving the Gamecocks program to take the same position with the Atlanta Falcons, according to a source with knowledge of the situation told The State. FootballScoop was the first to report the news. There has been no official announcement from the Falcons yet.

Before this COVID-19 shortened college season, the Gamecocks hadn’t had a 1,000 yard rusher since Marcus Lattimore back in 2010. That rusher Kevin Harris will not be draftable this offseason but it raises some questions about who the Falcons could target with running back a top need.

Per the report, Carolina lost their prior running back coach to the Los Angeles Rams in 2019.

Kitchings has a long history in college, and has been well respected for his work in Carolina, per Football Scoop.

Kitchings had been positioned for a raise with the Gamecocks, per sources, and also was well-liked in the athletics department, per sources in the program. Kitchings also has been consistently one of the top recruiters of overall talent and developers of running backs at the collegiate level.

The Falcons could desperately use the latter as the team has failed to develop a back since Devonta Freeman exploded under Kyle Shanahan (then exploded in a whole other way after signing a long-term extension).

We are still trying to figure out what to expect from Smith, but he is making a lot of bold choices that we did not see under the team’s former head coach.