Ellis Johnson returning to the SEC

December, 6, 2012
12/06/12
1:00
PM ET
New Auburn coach Gus Malzahn didn't wait long to address a defense that has been reeling on the Plains for the last two years.

Malzahn has hired veteran Ellis Johnson to be his defensive coordinator, which makes a ton of sense. Few defensive coordinators in college football carry the kind of respect Johnson does, and he knows the SEC inside and out.

Some people will point to Johnson's failed attempt to be a head coach this season at Southern Miss, which finished 0-12 and led to Johnson's firing after only one season.

But his track record as a defensive coordinator speaks for itself. He's put together top defenses at South Carolina, Mississippi State, Alabama and Clemson and brings a toughness and a discipline to the Plains that will serve the Tigers well.

Johnson is also an excellent recruiter and was very instrumental in South Carolina landing Jadeveon Clowney two years ago.

He has his work cut out at Auburn, which set a school record for yards allowed per game (420.5) this season.

Chris Low | email

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