GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Five new members have been added to the Tusculum University football coaching staff during this past spring and summer announced TU head coach Jerry Odom.
New to the Pioneer staff are Kade Bell, John Peacock, Rylan Wells, Trent Turknett and Malik Slater.
"I am extremely excited about getting Kade, John, Rylan, and Trent to come aboard on the offensive side of the football. They have proven in a short period of time they are extremely good at what they do," said Odom. "They bring great creativity and energy which should produce an exciting, fast paced, high-flying offensive attack."
"Malik Slater is one of the smartest and toughest football players I have ever coached and could not be happier to bring him aboard to mentor our tackles and bandits. He has an outstanding mind for the game and relates to the players extremely well," Odom added.
KADE BELL (Associate Head Coach / Offensive Coordinator / Quarterbacks)
Bell serves as associate head coach and offensive coordinator and will also be responsible for the Pioneer quarterbacks and possesses one of the finest up and coming offensive minds in collegiate football.
The Jacksonville, Florida product previously coached at Valdosta State University where he served three seasons (2016-2018) on the coaching staff including 2018 where he was as offensive coordinator and quarterback coach. He led the Blazers to a perfect 14-0 record and a NCAA Division II national championship in 2018. VSU led the nation in scoring offense that season averaging an outstanding 52 points per game and broke the Division II and Gulf South Conference record for most points scored in a single-season (728).
The Blazers also led the country in yards per play (7.9), points per play (.78 - NCAA II record), yards per rush (7.2) and passing touchdowns (50). Valdosta was also fourth in the country in red zone offense (.901), fourth in total offense (524.0 ypg) and fourth in passing efficiency (167.37).
Bell mentored quarterback Rogan Wells, the 2018 Gulf South Conference Offensive Player of the Year and Harlon Hill Trophy runner-up. Valdosta State's quarterbacks amassed 4,855 total offensive yards and accounted for 69 total touchdowns while throwing only six interceptions.
The 2018 VSU offense was one of the most balanced in college football producing 262 rushing yards per game along with 261 passing yards per game, while scoring 50 passing touchdowns along with 40 rushing scores.
The VSU offense produced five All-GSC performers that season including Wells, wide receivers Lio'undre Gallimore and Brian Suands, running back Jamar Thompkins and all-purpose back Seth McGill. Thompkins was also named the 2018 GSC Freshman of the Year.
In 2017, Bell served as the offensive passing game coordinator with the Valdosta State program while also mentoring the Blazers' receiving corps including All-GSC standout Dallas Baldner.
In the 20 games he was the chief play-caller for Valdosta State, the Blazers posted a stellar 19-1 record.
In 2019, he served on the coaching staff at the University of South Florida where he was an offensive analyst with the Bulls passing attack.
He served as a graduate assistant coach in 2016 where coached the quarterbacks as Valdosta State went 8-2 during the regular season and advanced to the NCAA II Playoffs. The Blazers averaged 311 passing yards per game which was tops in the Gulf South and eighth-best in the country.
Bell played his collegiate career at Jacksonville University from 2011-2015 where he was coached by his father Kerwin Bell. He was a four-year starting quarterback and finished his career with 9,613 total offensive yards and accounted for 93 touchdowns. He earned All-Pioneer Football League honors and led the Dolphins to a 2014 conference championship.
Bell graduated from Jacksonville in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sports management and later completed his master's degree in public administration from Valdosta State in 2018. He and his wife Charlotte were married in February 2019.
JOHN PEACOCK (Offensive Line / Recruiting Coordinator / Run Game Coordinator)
Peacock serves as the program's run game coordinator and will be responsible for the TU offensive line. Peacock will also coordinate the Pioneers' recruiting efforts.
Peacock, a native of Gainesville, Florida owns a wealth of coaching experience both at the collegiate and high school levels.
He spent three seasons (2016-2018) on the coaching staff at Valdosta State where he coached the tight ends and fullbacks as the Blazers running attack led the nation in yards per carry (7.2 ypc).
The 2018 VSU team posted a perfect 14-0 record to capture both the Gulf South Conference title and NCAA Division II national championship. The Blazers finished the season leading the country in scoring (52.0 ppg) and fourth nationally in total offense (523.9 yards per game - 1st in Gulf South). While at Valdosta, he mentored seven All-Conference selections including three All-American linemen.
In 2019, he was the offensive line graduate assistant coach at the University of South Florida and was part of a rushing team that led the Bulls to a team yards per carry average of 4.4 ypc. His top two ball carriers each netted more than 5.1 yards per rush attempt.
Peacock coached eight years (2008-2015) at Buchholz High School in Gainesville where he mentored the offensive and defensive line with both the junior varsity and varsity programs.
He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Valdosta State while also minoring in philosophy at the Valdosta, Georgia school.
RYLAN WELLS (Running Backs / Co-Special Teams Coordinator / Video Coordinator)
Wells serves as co-special teams coordinator, video coordinator and will mentor the TU running backs.
Wells served on the coaching staff at his alma mater at Jacksonville for two seasons (2018-2019) where he was an offensive graduate assistant with the Dolphins and coached receivers and offensive tackles. He also served as the film coordinator for JU during the 2019 campaign.
A native of Tega Cay, South Carolina, Wells was a member of the Jacksonville football team from 2013-2017 where he started at quarterback for 34 games. He finished his collegiate career ranked among the top-five in JU history in rushing touchdowns, passing completions, passing attempts, completion percentage and total yards.
A 2017 team captain at Jacksonville, Wells started in all 11 games under center, passing for 1,480 yards and 11 touchdowns while also rushing for 472 yards and eight scores. A three-time Pioneer Football League Offensive Player of the Week honoree, he was recognized as an Honorable Mention for the STATS FCS Offensive Player of the Week following a performance against Davidson College that included five combined touchdowns and a JU win.
In 2016, he became the first JU player to lead the Dolphins in both rushing and passing yards in the same season, accumulating 1,744 passing yards and 614 yards on the ground in 10 games. He scored 11 touchdowns each way, he fell one score shy of the program single-game record against Marist, rushing for four in one game.
Wells earned a bachelor's degree in business management from Jacksonville in 2018 and completed his master's degree in sport management in 2020.
TRENT TURKNETT (Tight Ends / Director of Football Operations)
Turknett serves as the Director of Football Operations for the TU program while also mentoring the Pioneer tight ends.
Turknett, a native of Fleming Island, Florida, served as video coordinator and director of player personnel at Murray State University during the 2019 campaign. He was in charge of the video staff and also oversaw the program's multimedia department which included graphics for social media platforms including Twitter and Instagram.
As director of player personnel at the Murray, Kentucky school, he was the liaison between student-athletes, professors, coaches and administration.
From 2017-2018, he served as a graduate assistant coach at Valdosta State where he worked closely with the Blazers offensive line which featured two All-Americans.
VSU captured the 2018 NCAA Division II national championship as the Blazers posted a 14-0 record and led the nation in scoring while accounting for one of the most balanced offensive attacks in collegiate football. He was also the program's on-campus recruiting coordinator.
His professional experience also includes the Florida High School Athletic Association as he worked with eligibility and compliance as well as athletic services. He also worked with ProAthlete.TV as he assisted win all aspects of video with high profile athletes and companies.
Turknett earned his Bachelors of Science degree in sport management at the University of Florida in 2016 and later earned his Master's in Public Administration from Valdosta State in 2018.
MALIK SLATER (Graduate Assistant Coach / Defensive Line)
Slater will be a graduate assistant coach with the Pioneers and is responsible for the defensive line.
Slater, a native of Tallahassee, Florida, played one season of professional football with the Cedar Rapids River Kings of the Indoor Football League. He played in seven games in the 2019 campaign where he averaged 6.6 tackles per game while finishing the year with 46 stops with 4.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, forced two fumbles and recorded an interception.
Slater played two seasons at Jacksonville before transferring to Valdosta State for his final two years, all with head coach Kerwin Bell.
Played in 21 games at Jacksonville (2014-2015) where he totaled 113 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks at linebacker as future Tusculum head coach Jerry Odom was his defensive coordinator at JU. Slater earned All-Pioneer Football League honorable mention recognition in 2015 with the Dolphins.
He was a two-year starter at Valdosta State (2016-2017) where he garnered All-Gulf South Conference first team honors in 2017. He was also a D2CCA All-Super Region 2 first team selection and earned a berth to the FCS Senior Bowl where he was named the Defensive Most Valuable Player. He was also an invitee to the Tropical Bowl All-Star Game.
Slater totaled 115 tackles in his 20 career games with the Blazers including seven tackles for loss.
He earned his undergraduate degree from Valdosta State with a degree while majoring in business administration and marketing. He is working on his master's degree from Tusculum in sports administration.
Tusculum will open its 2020 season on September 26.