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Singleton named new UK running backs and special teams coach

Singleton spent the last five years in the NFL with the Colts, Raiders, and Bengals
Singleton named new UK running backs and special teams coach
Singleton named new UK running backs and special teams coach(WKYT)
Published: Jan. 7, 2021 at 4:31 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops has named Jemal Singleton the new running backs coach/special teams coordinator, he announced Thursday.

“We are excited to welcome Jemal Singleton to our program,” head coach Mark Stoops said. “He came highly recommended from (UK defensive coordinator) Brad White, who I highly respect, as they worked together in the NFL. After I did the research on him, saw his background, and visited with him, it was a no-brainer. He has also worked in the same system as (new offensive coordinator) Liam Coen and he will be a great fit.”

Singleton returns to the collegiate ranks after spending the last five years in the National Football League, most recently with the Cincinnati Bengals. He also spent time with the Oakland Raiders and the Indianapolis Colts.

“We are so excited to be a part of the Big Blue Nation,” Singleton said. “My wife and daughter are horse people and we all know Lexington is a great place for that but I had a chance to come to the NFL Pro Day last year and walk around the facility. I was very impressed with everything Kentucky Football has done for their players. Everything is first class. Coach Stoops has really built something special at Kentucky. I also have history with Coach Brad White from way back at Air Force and also in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts, and this is just an amazing opportunity. I can’t wait to get started.”

In 2020, the Bengals won two of their final three games, despite a roster decimated by injuries. Singleton led a running backs unit led by Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard. Despite playing in only seven games due to injury, Mixon led the team with 428 rushing yards on 119 attempts with three TDs. He also caught 21 passes for 138 receiving yards. Bernard totaled 416 rushing yards on 124 attempts with three TDs. He also caught 47 passes for 523 yards with three scores, becoming Cincinnati’s all-time leader in receptions by a running back with 342.

In 2019, Singleton helped Mixon to his second straight 1,000-yard campaign. The third-year pro was the league’s second-leading rusher (817 yards) over the final eight weeks, after totaling just 320 rushing yards over the first eight weeks. The Bengals’ ground game was a major part of the offense’s second-half resurgence, as it averaged 70.6 more rushing yards per game in the second half of the season (130.1) than the first (59.5). The team’s average yards per rushing attempt also jumped 1.26 yards (3.17 to 4.43) the final eight games.

Prior to his time in Cincinnati, Singleton spent the 2018 season as running backs coach for the Oakland Raiders. Under his guidance, Raiders RB Jalen Richard stepped into an increased offensive role and tallied a career-high 68 catches, which tied for the team lead and were the fourth-most in a single season by a running back in team history.

From 2016-17, Singleton served as running backs coach for the Indianapolis Colts, where he guided RB Frank Gore to the first 1,000-yard season by a Colts rusher in nine years. Gore in 2016 also became just the fourth running back in NFL history — and the first since John Riggins in 1984 — to top 1,000 rushing yards at age 33 or older.

Singleton spent the 2015 season under head coach Bret Bielema at Arkansas as the special teams coordinator/running backs coach. In his lone season, he helped guide Razorbacks RB Alex Collins to career highs in every major rushing category, including rushing yards (1,577) and TDs (20). Collins was named second-team All-SEC and a semifinalist for the Doak Walker Award (given annually to the nation’s top running back), and was taken in the fifth round by Seattle. The Razorbacks finished 8-5 overall after defeating Kansas State in the Liberty Bowl.

From 2011-14, Singleton served as running backs coach at Oklahoma State University. In his first two seasons in Stillwater, Singleton helped Cowboys RB Joseph Randle earn back-to-back first-team All-Big 12 honors and become one of the most heralded running backs in Oklahoma State history. Randle scored 24 TDs in 2011, the fourth-most in the FBS, while helping the Cowboys to a Big 12 title with a 12-1 record a No. 3 ranking in the final Associated Press poll. The Cowboys’ running backs totaled 10 games of 100 yards or more.

In 2012, Randle was a unanimous first-team All-Big 12 selection after leading the Big 12 with 1,417 rushing yards. He went on to be selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft and played three years in the league.

In 2013, Singleton helped guide OSU’s running backs to 35 rushing TDs, and in ’14 his running backs combined for more than 500 touches without committing a single turnover. During his four seasons, the Cowboys advanced to four straight bowls with three wins. In 2011, OSU had a remarkable run which resulted in an appearance in the Jan. 2, 2012 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl (OSU’s first ever trip to a BCS bowl game). The following year, OSU topped Purdue in the 2013 Heart of Dallas Bowl and after the 2014 season, the Cowboys defeated Washington in the 2015 TicketCity Cactus Bowl.

Prior to Oklahoma State, Singleton spent nine years (2000, ’03-10) on Air Force’s coaching staff, helping the Falcons advance to five bowl games during that span. He served as a run game coordinator/running backs coach (2007-10), running backs coach (‘06), varsity assistant coach (’03-05) and a prep assistant (’00). In his tenure as running backs coach, Singleton led the Falcons to a conference rushing title and a top-10 national ranking in rush offense each year, highlighted by a 2010 season that featured the nation’s No. 2 rushing attack (306.5 yards per game) and 41 total touchdowns (tied a Mountain West Conference record).

In 2010, Air Force ranked second in the nation with 306.5 rushing yards per game. The team totaled 3,985 rushing yards, which was the second-best total in MWC history at the time. The Falcons also rushed for 41 touchdowns, tying the MWC record.

The 2009 Falcons were very effective on the ground, due in large part to Singleton’s running backs. That season saw Air Force average 283.5 rushing yards per game, the third-best mark in the nation.

Singleton tutored Chad Hall in 2007, who was named MWC Offensive Player of the Year and earned third-team All-America honors. Hall rushed for 1,478 yards and totaled 2,683 all-purpose yards, helping Air Force win nine games. Hall played three seasons in the NFL for the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs.

In 2001, Singleton was stationed at Little Rock Air Force Base in Jacksonville, Arkansas. He served as the Chief of Media Relations, as part of his military service commitment. In 2003, he returned to the Air Force Academy as the junior varsity defensive coordinator and varsity assistant coach. He began his coaching career at the USAFA Prep School working specifically as the team’s assistant head coach/offensive coordinator.

As a player, Singleton was a three-year (1996-98) letterwinner at running back for the Air Force Academy, and was one of just six players in program history to be elected a two-time captain. He totaled 941 career rushing yards on 175 carries, with four TDs, and was an All-WAC honorable mention selection as a senior. He helped the Falcons win 10 games in back-to-back seasons for the first time in school history, including their first outright conference title in 1998.

Born in Incirlik, Turkey, and native of San Antonio, Texas, Singleton was the son of an Air Force Sergeant. He graduated from Air Force in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in social sciences. He and his wife, Jennifer, have two daughters, Morgan and Mallory.

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