FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – George McDonald, who is considered one of the most prolific recruiters in the country and who has coached an extensive list of NFL pupils, has been named Arkansas’ wide receivers coach, head coach Bret Bielema announced Wednesday.
“George McDonald has a reputation as a top recruiter as well as a great teacher and technician,” said Bielema. “In his heart, he has always wanted to be a college coach because he believes in recruiting young men and being a part of helping them develop for four years. He will be a positive influence on our wide receivers as they grow and learn under his guidance. His track record of developing NFL-ready receivers and his first-hand experience as a position coach in the league will be attractive to our student-athletes and future Razorback receivers. He knows what it takes to be an NFL receiver and has the ability to teach our players how to be a pro in every aspect so they can maximize their potential in college and set themselves up for a career on the next level.”
Tabbed as one of the top 25 recruiters in the country by Rivals.com in 2012, McDonald has helped haul in some of the top recruiting classes in the country. The 2012 Miami class was ranked No. 8 in the country by ESPN.com and No. 9 in the nation by Scout.com and Rivals, with Scout also ranking the class No. 1 in the ACC and ESPN and Rivals ranking the Hurricanes’ class as the second-best in the conference. In the two classes he helped put together at Miami, the Hurricanes signed 15 four-star players and two five-stars. The class he helped assemble at Minnesota in 2008 was ranked 17th in the nation and third in the Big Ten by Rivals and included seven four-star athletes.
McDonald has spent the last two seasons coaching wide receivers at the University of Miami and also served as passing game coordinator in 2012. Prior to his time in Coral Gables, he was the wide receivers coach for the Cleveland Browns for two seasons. He has groomed 10 wide receivers who played in the NFL and also worked with Braylon Edwards, Josh Cribbs and Mohamed Massaquoi while in Cleveland.
In 2012, the Hurricanes ranked 28th in the NCAA in passing offense with an average of 295.4 yards per game through the air. Miami also ranked in the top five in the ACC in total offense, scoring offense and pass efficiency. Sophomore wide receiver Phillip Dorsett ranked ninth in the ACC in receiving yards per game and 10th in the conference in receptions per game.
In his first season at Miami, McDonald led junior Tommy Streeter to a breakout season, as Streeter finished the year with 46 receptions for 811 yards. His yards-per-catch average of 17.6 was the highest among ACC receivers with at least 40 catches, and his yardage total ranked fifth in the ACC. McDonald also oversaw senior Travis Benjamin’s climb up the Miami record book as he finished his career sixth on the school’s all-time receiving yards list with 2,146 and on the reception list with 131.
McDonald began his time in the NFL as offensive quality control coach for the Browns in February of 2009 and was quickly promoted to wide receivers coach in May. In his first season in Cleveland, rookie receiver Massaquoi ended the year as the team’s leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. The next season, Massaquoi and Cribbs each averaged more than 12 yards per reception and combined to grab 59 catches for 775 yards.
McDonald also gained valuable NFL experience from training camp internships with the New York Jets in 2004 and 2006, Chicago Bears in 2005 and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2007.
Before being hired by the Browns, McDonald spent two seasons at the University of Minnesota. There he coached Eric Decker to twice break the school’s single-season receptions record, first with 67 in 2007 and again with 84 in 2008. Decker also accumulated 1,074 receiving yards in 2008 and earned first-team All-Big Ten recognition. He finished his career as the Gophers’ career record holder for catches and receiving yards.
McDonald spent two seasons before Minnesota at Western Michigan, where he tutored current Green Bay Packers star receiver Greg Jennings. In his first season working with McDonald, Jennings was named the 2005 MAC Offensive Player of the Year, the conference’s co-MVP and a Biletnikoff Award semifinalist.
Prior to his time at Western Michigan, McDonald was the tight ends coach at Stanford in 2004 and coached Alex Smith, who was picked in the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and currently plays for the Cleveland Browns. Smith was a finalist for the Mackey Award and also earned first-team All-Pac-10 and second-team All-America honors in 2004, when he led the Cardinal with 52 receptions for 706 yards and three touchdowns.
McDonald’s first full-time coaching job was at Northern Illinois, where he coached wide receivers from 2001-03. In his first season, he oversaw Darrell Hill’s development into a second-team All-MAC performer and draft pick by the Tennessee Titans. Hill caught 38 passes for 822 yards and seven touchdowns that year and also tied the NIU record with three straight 100-yard receiving games. In 2002, Sam Hurd broke the school’s record for receiving yards by a sophomore with 512, and the next year Dan Sheldon broke Northern Illinois’ record for receiving yards by a junior with 763. Sheldon ended his career as the Huskies’ career record holder with a mark of 21.1 yards per catch. While at NIU, McDonald also coached P.J. Fleck who ranked third in school history in career receptions (179) and fourth in receiving yards (2,162). Fleck had the second most receptions in a season (77) in NIU history and led the Huskies in receiving yards in both 2001 (732) and 2003 (1,028). Fleck, who was recently named the head coach at Western Michigan, owns the Northern Illinois record for punt returns (87) and ranks second in punt return yards (716) in a career.
Northern Illinois finished 2003 with a 10-2 record and made its debut at 10th in the BCS standings in week 9 of the season and ended the year 21st in the BCS, the only time the team finished a year ranked in the BCS until 2012.
McDonald was a two-sport athlete at Illinois, making his mark in football and track and field. He was a four-year letterman for the Illini at wide receiver and also contributed as a kickoff returner, totaling 1,276 yards on 57 returns. He ran track for two seasons, earning All-Big Ten honors during his senior year when he won the Big Ten indoor championship in the 60-meter dash with a school-record time of 6.74 seconds. He graduated from Illinois in 1999 with a degree in health planning and administration.
Dec. 2012 Arkansas (Wide Receivers)
2012 University of Miami (Passing Game Coordinator/Wide Receivers)
2011 University of Miami (Wide Receivers)
2009-10 Cleveland Browns (Wide Receivers)
2007-08 University of Minnesota (Wide Receivers)
2005-06 Western Michigan (Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers)
2004 Stanford (Tight Ends)
2001-03 Northern Illinois (Wide Receivers)
Spring 2001 Bucknell (Wide Receivers)
2000 Ball State (Graduate Assistant)
Birthdate: May 10, 1976
Home Town: Buena Park, Calif.
Bowl Games: Insight Bowl, 2008; International Bowl, 2007