David Shaw lost his defensive coordinator - and then went out and made his best coaching hire yet.
Akina was perhaps the most outstanding of all coaching "free agents" this spring - he'd been the defensive backs coach at Texas since 2001, where he coached Earl Thomas, Kenny Vaccaro, Michael Huff, Quentin Jammer, Nathan Vasher, Michael Griffin, Aaron Ross and others. In fact, his presence was the determining factor in turning Texas into "DBU" - a school that minted stud NFL DBs for a decade.
Akina did briefly accept a job at Arizona in 2011 before returning to Austin a month later, so he's at least casually familiar with the Pac-12. (Akina was not retained by new Texas head coach Charlie Strong when he came from Louisville.)
Now, Akina's presence gives Stanford one of the most compelling pitches to defensive back recruits - come play for (arguably) the best defensive backs coach in the nation at the place that produced the best cornerback in the NFL. That's not too shabby at all.
Another good part about this: Akina at least flirted with joining the staff at Cal before he decided to come to Stanford. That's a nice cherry on top.
It's without a doubt David Shaw's most impressive coaching hire yet and a major coup for a program that lost a very, very good DBs coach in Derek Mason. Moreover, it gives Stanford another big inroad into Texas' fertile recruiting ground, even though the Cardinal have recruited the state massively well over the last few years - Andrew Luck, Stepfan Taylor, Cam Fleming, Ty Montgomery, and Solomon Thomas are all testaments to that.
Akina is well-known for being one of the more intense coaches in all of college football, but he obviously worked well with a lot of different coaches during his tenure in Austin - Mack Brown and Will Muschamp come to mind as two incredibly different personalities - and I'm interested to see how his personality transforms Stanford's defense and d-backs going forward.
Here's a look at his unique, firey style. He should bring a lot of heat to the Stanford coaching staff.