5. Iowa State offensive coordinator Nathan Scheelhaase
Scheelhaase was a well outside the box, darkhorse, incredibly long shot candidate to replace Lynn when it was clear Lynn would be gone, as Dan Campbell could’ve considerred all possible options even if Johnson was clearly set to be the top option.
Scheelhaase just completed his fifth season on Matt Campbell’s staff at Iowa State. This year he added offensive coordinator duties to his previous duties as run game coordinator/running backs coach and wide receivers coach.
The Cyclones went a disappointing 4- 8 this season, as they clearly missed quarterback Brock Purdy, running back Breece Hall and tight end Charlie Kolar as they went on the NFL. Iowa State was just 84th in FBS in total offense and 114th in scoring (out of 131 teams). But they were a top-40 passing offense in the country (37th; 261.8 yards per game), with the 11th-most pass attempts (479; 39.9 per game) and an average of 10.04 yards per completion (49th in FBS).
Scheelhaase played quarterback at the University of Illinois, where he is the school’s all-time total yardage leader (10,634), from 2010-2013.
It would be a big jump to the NFL for the 32-year old Scheelhaase. But he has gained quick experience coaching multiple positions at the college level, and Iowa State’s passing game was better than could have been expected this year. There’s a non-zero chance NFL teams will want to talk to him, and the Lions could be one if they’re left to replace Johnson.