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Auburn hires Ellis Johnson as defensive coordinator, according to report

Ellis Johnson is the first addition to head coach Gus Malzahn's staff.


Gus Malzahn has made his first hire as Auburn head coach. Ellis Johnson will join the Tigers as defensive coordinator, according to a report from WDAM out of Jackson, Miss.

Johnson spent last season as head coach at Southern Miss, and his Eagles had a disastrous 0-12 campaign. Before his time in Hattiesburg, Johnson had stints at Alabama, Mississippi State and South Carolina as defensive coordinator. As coordinator with the Gamecocks from 2007 to '11, Johnson's defenses allowed 300 yards or fewer in three of four seasons, including 267.7 in 2011, which ranked No. 3 in the country.

Johnson, 61, has 36 years of coaching experience, including 17 years as a defensive coordinator at the college level. For the most part, he likes to run an aggressive 4-2-5 scheme, which should work nicely with Malzahn's attacking philosophy.