3. Rhett Lashlee, SMU head coach
Hiring Rhett Lashlee would follow a philosophy that sits somewhere between the Mullen mentality and the Chadwell mentality. He isn’t the sure thing that Mullen is, and he isn’t the wild card that Chadwell is. There’s still reason to believe he could be successful in Starkville.
In his second season as head coach at SMU, Lashlee is 15-8. The Mustangs are 8-2 this season and undefeated in AAC play after a 7-6 campaign in 2022. The quick jump in success is an encouraging sight.
Lashlee also has SEC experience. He played QB at Arkansas from 2002-04 and has spent time on the coaching staffs of both the Razorbacks and the Auburn Tigers. From 2013-16, he was the offensive coordinator and QB coach alongside Gus Malzahn on the plains. He was a finalist for the Broyles Award in 2013 when Auburn reached the BCS national title game.
Considering his Arkansas ties, there’s a good chance the Razorbacks come calling to see if Lashlee wants to return home to take over in Fayetteville. If that’s the case, it would be a huge victory for Mississippi State to nab his services.
In the never-ending arms race that is SEC football, it would be a big statement for Mississippi State to beat out Arkansas for a hot coaching candidate, especially if it involves luring him away from his home state.