Ra’Shaad Samples Named Assistant Head Coach, Running Backs Coach

EUGENE, Ore. — Oregon football head coach Dan Lanning officially announced the hiring of Ra’Shaad Samples as the Ducks’ new assistant head coach and running backs coach on Tuesday.
Samples joins the Ducks after spending the 2023 season as the wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator at Arizona State. He was the running backs coach for the Los Angeles Rams in 2022, after being hired as the youngest position coach in the NFL.
Still just 29 years old, Samples will be an FBS assistant head coach for the third time in his career. He spent time as the assistant head coach and running backs coach at TCU in 2021 before joining the Rams, following three seasons at SMU. He began at SMU in 2019 as an offensive assistant with an emphasis on recruiting, and was elevated to running backs coach and recruiting coordinator before being promoted to assistant head coach.
“We are thrilled to be able to add a coach of Ra’Shaad’s caliber to our program,” Lanning said. “Coach Samples is one of the brightest young coaches in all of football, and it is easy to see why he has had such a rapid rise through the coaching ranks. He is a dynamic personality who will bring out the very best in our student-athletes both on and off the field, and he will recruit relentlessly to bring the best young men we can find to our program. I am excited to see the impact Ra’Shaad has on our players’ development as we continue to build upon the storied history of running backs here at Oregon.”
A former receiver, Samples spent 2013 and 2014 at Oklahoma State before transferring to Houston for 2015 and 2016. He joined Houston’s staff as an offensive assistant for 2016 and 2017 after dealing with injuries, and then went to Texas as an offensive assistant and on-campus recruiting coordinator in 2018. While at Texas, Samples worked with current Oregon tight ends coach Drew Mehringer, who was the Longhorns’ receivers coach at the time.
“First, I want to thank Kenny Dillingham and the opportunity he gave me at Arizona state,” Samples said. “He played a big part in my growth but I am tremendously excited and grateful join Dan Lanning and his highly regarded staff at Oregon. The chance to learn from some of the best minds in football is invaluable. I am looking forward to adding value and becoming a part of the championship culture Oregon is continuously building on.”
While at Arizona State, Samples oversaw the development of receiver Elijhah Badger, who was an all-Pac-12 honorable mention selection in 2023 after racking up 65 receptions for 713 and three touchdowns.
Upon being hired by the Rams as the NFL’s youngest position coach, Samples was instrumental in the evaluation, draft selection and development of running back Kyren Williams, who went on to make the Pro Bowl in his second season after rushing for 1,144 yards.
In his stint at TCU, Samples played a key role in the signing of Emani Bailey, who went on to rush for 1,209 yards on 223 carries in the 2023 season.
Samples developed a relationship as one of the nation’s elite recruiters while at SMU, where he received a promotion each year on his way to being named assistant head coach. The Mustangs’ 2021 recruiting class was the highest-ranked in program history, and Samples finished as the No. 1 recruiter in the conference (247Sports) after the December Signing Day period.
During the 2020 season, Samples was listed among 247Sports’ 30-under 30 list and was on Dave Campbell’s 40-under-40 list in 2021. He mentored Ulysses Bentley IV to FWAA Freshman all-America honors and AAC Rookie of the Year honors, after he led the league with 913 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns in 10 games.
In his first season at SMU, Samples coached FWAA second-team all-American and first-team all-AAC selection James Proche to a nation-leading 111 receptions for 1,225 yards and 15 receiving touchdowns. Proche was selected in the sixth round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens.
A native of Dallas, Texas, Samples caught 62 passes for 1,072 yards and 23 touchdowns as a senior while playing for his father, Reginald Samples, at Skyline High School. He also had 65 catches for 1,369 yards and 19 touchdowns as a junior, and would go on to be a consensus four-star prospect and a top-20 receiving prospect in the nation.