On Wednesday, it was reported that Texas A&M is hiring Ole Miss defensive coordinator DJ Durkin, who coached at Florida from 2010-2014. Durkin will replace former defensive coordinator Mike Elko, who departed to become head coach at Duke.
SOURCE: Texas A&M has zeroed in on Ole Miss defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin to become the Aggies new defensive coordinator.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) January 5, 2022
DJ Durkin leaving Ole Miss for Texas A&M
Durkin spent the past two seasons overseeing Ole Miss’ defense after joining former head coach Lane Kiffin’s staff ahead of the 2020 season.
Meanwhile, Durkin helped lead the Rebels to a top-10 ranking as well as a Sugar Bowl appearance. Prior to that, Ole Miss was the worst defensive team in the SEC. The Rebels were allowing a league-worst 519 yards per game and 38.3 points per game.
Durkin would pull an impressive turnaround for the Rebels as the defense elevated Ole Miss to winning 10 regular season games for the first time in program history. The Rebels ranked eighth in the conference in scoring defense allowing an average of 24.7 points per game.
DJ Durkin's OM defense held several opponents under season average (first number listed)
Louisville 31.6; scored 24
Tulane 27; scored 21
Tennessee 39.3; scored 26
LSU 26.5; scored 17
Liberty 33.6; scored 14
Texas A&M 29.3; scored 19
Miss St 29.1; scored 21
Baylor 31.6; scored 14 https://t.co/MrU4nSigNo
— SEC Mike (@MichaelWBratton) January 6, 2022
Durkin coaching at Florida
Durkin began his coaching career in 2001 when he joined Bowling Green new head coach Urban Meyer’s staff. He reunited with Meyer when he joined the Florida coaching staff in 2010 and remained on the staff when Will Muschamp took over as head coach.
Durkin started his career in Gainesville as a linebacker coach and special teams coordinator. In addition, he established a reputation as a strong national recruiter. As an assistant, Durkin helped the Gators land four straight top-recruiting classes. As a result, Rivals.com named Durkin the 2012 Recruiter of the Year.
Durkin was promoted to Florida’s defensive coordinator in 2013 to replace Dan Quinn. In 2013, the Gators ranked eighth in total defense, 15th in scoring defense and seventh in pass defense. After that, Florida would rank 15th in total defense and 20th in scoring defense in 2014.
In 2014, he was named Florida’s interim head coach for the Gators’ bowl game after Muschamp announced he would step down following the regular season. Durkin led Florida to a 28-20 victory over East Carolina in the 2015 Birmingham Bowl.