One of the best young high school football coaches in Texas, according to Dave Campbell's Texas Football, is a Philadelphia native who took his first head coaching job in Texas almost four months ago.
As a player, he was an offensive lineman at a small NCAA Division II school and professionally bounced around NFL and NFL Europe camps. As offensive coordinator at Beaumont Westbrook and, for the last six years, Tomball, he developed a sharp mind for the spread offense.
DCTF recognizing Fulshear head football coach Nick Codutti on its "40 Under 40" coaches list last week may have surprised some. Heck, it even surprised Codutti, who was one of only four from the Houston area to be named to the 30-man list of high school coaches.
"I was, like, these guys must have me confused with somebody else," Codutti said, laughing. "It's pretty cool to be represented. A lot of those coaches are dudes who are well-known and well-liked and well-thought of. Just to be involved is cool."
But the catch may be that maybe it shouldn't have been a shock. In this rich era of offensive football that is more and more geared toward getting the ball into the hands of playmakers, at whatever cost schematically or personnel-wise, Codutti is nuanced in the art of scoring points. He is well-traveled as a coach, starting with six years at Marshfield High in Missouri—where he was head coach for three years, going 12-18—before going to Beaumont for two years and then Tomball.
Last season, Codutti directed a Tomball offense that averaged 31.4 points on 469.9 yards per game.
"I'm a wide-zone guy," Codutti said, referring to an offensive scheme based on horizontal movement. "I don't pull linemen. I don't run power. I don't run counter. My philosophy is to keep it very simple for the offensive line. Our offensive line knows one blocking scheme to run. Our passing game is the same. My theory is I'm going to be so well-versed in the one or two things we do, that I know what our weaknesses are and people will have to adjust to us instead of us adjusting to them. We have a system instead of a collection of plays."
Codutti's style is to fit kids into roles that fit them best and mold his schemes around that.
During his first couple of years at Tomball, he ran an offense that featured compressed sets with multiple players in the box at one time because the Cougars had big, physical receivers. Last season, the offense mostly ran an "empty" formation, featuring no back in the backfield.
Codutti, who will call the offensive plays for the Chargers, will have talent to work with at Fulshear. He singled out playmakers like speedy junior dual-threat quarterback Parker Wilson and dynamic junior receiver Jax Medica. But one thing is for certain: Offensive linemen at Fulshear are at the head of the class under Codutti.
"I'm asking kids to play O-line that never played there, and they're starting to enjoy it," Codutti said. "The way I go about it is we're going to make the O-line cool, the place to be. They eat first, they get the first pick on equipment. They're going to be kings. It's something that will be new to a lot of people."
Any newness has been embraced. If social media is any indication, players and coaches around Fulshear are all-in on Codutti's culture of inclusiveness. Codutti is excited about what's to come because of the rapid growth of the area.
When he started at Fulshear on March 1, Codutti said the school had 1,750 kids. When school ended in May, it had more than 1,900. By the time school starts again in August, Codutti said he was told enrollment could be up to 2,200.
"I've never seen anything like it," he said.
As the school's numbers find footing, Codutti will attempt to establish his. He has his work cut out trying to bring a winning culture to a program that has won eight games in three years of varsity play.
Fortunately, he will have quality experience around him. Assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Kaeron Johnson played at Baylor. Offensive coordinator Dillen Ashton has quickly climbed the coaching ranks. Running backs coach Davin Meggett is a former NFL player. Offensive line coaches Chris Morton and Derek Jones arrive following successful stints in Klein ISD. Special teams/linebackers coach Nick Jones was formerly the assistant head coach at Ridge Point.
"The guys I've brought in are 100 percent relationship guys," Codutti said. "Three things I look at when I hire are character, connection, and competency. I have good men, and that rubs off on the kids and it helps them buy-in when those relationships are built."
The high school honorees on Dave Campbell's Texas Football 40 Under 40 list:
>> Courtney Allen, North Crowley
>> Garret Avalos, Rankin
>> Brian Bell, China Spring
>> Kevin Berneathy, Pasadena Dobie
>> Kasey Black, Rio Vista
>> Robert Boone, Carrollton Newman Smith
>> Trey Bryant, Richardson Berkner
>> Ervin Chandler, Princeton
>> Nick Codutti, Fulshear
>> Lance Cannot, Brownsboro
>> Alton Dixon, Crockett
>> Justen Evans, Corpus Christi Miller
>> Jahmal Fenner, Austin LBJ
>> Thad Fortune, Midland
>> Zac Harrell, Athens
>> Ben Hoffmeier, Bryan Brazos Christian
>> Nathan Larned, Houston Kinkaid
>> Will Littleton, PSJA Memorial
>> Jonny Louvier, Gladewater
>> DJ Mann, Lubbock Coronado
>> Ricky Joe Meeks, Center
>> Eric Mims, Amarillo Palo Duro
>> Daniel Novakov, Dallas Parish Episcopal
>> Eric Peevey, Little Cypress-Mauriceville
>> Frank Sandoval, West Mesquite
>> Cody Simper, Cy Woods
>> Cooper Thornhill, Blum
>> Joseph Turner, Fort Worth North Side
>> Logan Turner, Lone Oak
>> Kyle Westerberg, Whitehouse
The collegiate honorees on Dave Campbell's Texas Football 40 Under 40 list:
>> Shawn Bell, Baylor (Quarterbacks)
>> Ryan Carty, Sam Houston (Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks)
>> Zarnell Fitch, TCU (Defensive Line)
>> Blake Gideon, Texas (Safeties)
>> Julian Griffin, UTSA (Running Backs)
>> Jacob Peeler, Texas State (Offensive Coordinator)
>> Billy Riebock, Texas A&M-Commerce (Offensive Coordinator)
>> TJ Rushing, Texas A&M (Defensive Backs)
>> Ra'Shaad Samples, SMU (Assistant Head Coach/Running Backs)
>> Steven Thrash, Mary Hardin-Baylor (Wide Receivers)