The Georgia Bulldogs have finally put the finishing touches on their defensive staff for 2014.
On Thursday morning, it was announced that Georgia would bring in Mike Ekeler as its inside linebackers coach, via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s official Twitter page:
#UGA names Mike Ekeler, most recently of Southern Cal, as inside linebackers coach. Completes defensive staff.— AJC UGA (@ajcuga) February 6, 2014
The 42-year-old most recently served in the same position with USC during the 2013 season. He also has coaching experience with Indiana as defensive coordinator (2011-12) and with Nebraska as linebackers coach (2008-10).
“I was extremely impressed with his knowledge and energy during the interview process,” Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt said in a statement, per the Athens Banner-Herald’s Marc Weiszer. “He was highly recommended by many coaches and administrators with whom I talked and we’re very excited that he’ll be joining our staff.”
Following Ekeler’s addition, we now have a complete picture of how Georgia’s full defensive staff will look:
Staff assignments: Jeremy Pruitt -DC, Secondary Tracy Rocker - D-line, Will linebacker Kevin Sherrer -Sam LB, Nickle/Star Mike Ekeler - ILBs— Radi Nabulsi (@RadiNabulsi) February 6, 2014
The details on who will be handling special teams duties is still to be announced. However, Ekeler is the favorite to land that role, as he has previous experience coaching punt returns during his time in Lincoln.
All four coaches will be entering their first season in Athens.
It will mark a fresh start for a defense that struggled mightily last season. The Bulldogs finished 2013 ranked No. 79 in scoring defense (29.0 PPG), No. 45 in total defense (375.5 YPG), No. 59 against the pass (227.4 YPG) and No. 43 against the run (148.2 YPG).
Furthermore, the unit conceded a whopping 43 touchdowns on the season.
Still, all four hires, along with 247Sports’ composite No. 8-ranked recruiting class in the nation—including eight prospects on defense—have led many to be optimistic about Georgia’s defense in 2014.
All stats and rankings used in this article are courtesy of CFBStats.com.