MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Alabama State football will look to build off a 5-6 2017 season with new coaching hires announced Tuesday. The Hornets already made progress towards 2018 when they announced Donald Hill-Eley as the interim head coach in the middle of the 2017 season.
Under Hill-Eley, ASU won five of its last six games and now he is putting together a coaching staff to build a brighter future for Hornet football. Hill-Eley announced seven new hires, including one Hornet that enjoyed some success in the National Football League.
Roderick Plummer will join the staff at Alabama State as the new running backs and special teams coach. Plummer comes over from Florida A&M where the special teams group led the FCS in that category. He also enjoyed the same success at Yale prior to his time as a coach for the Rattlers.
Plummer is also familiar with the ASU head coach. Hill-Eley said the two coached together at Hampton back in 1997.
Two former Troy coaches are also making the move to Montgomery to be a part of Hill-Eley's staff.
Justin Keown joins Alabama State after two years at Troy coaching tight ends and S-backs. Keown was a part of a winning culture at Troy that saw a 10-win season in 2016 followed by an 11-win season in 2017.
Jaquon Robinson has ties to Troy. He was a graduate assistant during Troy's previous Sun Belt Conference Championship run in 2010. He coached the last two football seasons at Dinwiddie High School. There, he was the passing game coordinator and helped the team to a 26-2 record. At Troy, he coached inside receivers.
Four quality control hires were also made, consisting of Bre'nard Williams, Jon Harrelson, Sam Lazarus and Tarvaris Jackson. Maybe the most notable of those being Jackson.
Jackson played 10 seasons in the NFL and is an Alabama State alumnus. He was drafted in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings and was a part of the 2013 Seattle Seahawks team that won Super Bowl XLVIII. Jackson's best NFL season came in 2011 in which he played 15 games as a member of the Seahawks. That year, he threw for over 3,000 yards while accounting for 15 total touchdowns. Jackson played for three NFL teams in the Vikings, Bills, and Seahawks twice.
Williams joins the staff after coaching linebackers at Thomasville High School. Prior to that stint, Williams was the defensive coordinator at Methodist University.
Harrelson stays in the Capital City, coming over from Huntingdon College where he coached running backs and H-backs as an offensive intern. Harrelson also was in charge of recruiting in the southeastern states.
Jackson isn't the only ASU alumnus returning. Sam Lazarus is also an Alabama State graduate, and will be assisting wit player development under coach Hill-Eley. Lazarus served as a Recruitment Specialist and District Recruiter for the Academic Affairs/Enrollment Management Office at Alabama State.
These hires come after Hill-Eley lost his secondary coach in Grady Brown. Brown joined the coaching staff at Louisville as a defensive assistant and recruiting coordinator last Friday.