Justin Wilcox Hired as Wisconsin Defensive Coordinator: Latest Details, Reaction

Joe PantornoFeatured ColumnistJanuary 28, 2016

Oct 11, 2014; Tucson, AZ, USA; Southern California Trojans defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium. The Trojans defeated the Wildcats 28-26. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The University of Wisconsin announced on Thursday that it has hired Justin Wilcox as its defensive coordinator. 

Wilcox's defensive coordinator tour continues, as it is his fifth school in the past 10 years that he's held the position at.      

Most recently, Wilcox was at USC for two years before being fired in December of 2015 after the Trojans' loss to Stanford in the Pac-12 championship game. Before his stint in Southern California, Wilcox led the defenses of Washington, Tennessee and Boise State. 

Wilcox will be replacing Dave Aranda, who left Wisconsin for the defensive coordinator job at LSU at the conclusion of the 2015 season. 

Badgers head coach Paul Chryst spoke of his decision to bring on Wilcox, whose USC defense was ranked 65th in the nation last season, allowing a little over 400 total yards per game:

During my many conversations with numerous football people that I trusted, one name kept surfacing, Justin Wilcox. I am very happy that we were able to get a quality coach like Justin to join our staff. I think he's a great fit for Wisconsin and this program is a great fit for him. His addition makes us better. He has tremendous experience at some big-time schools and has coached some really good players. He does a great job putting his players in the best situations so they can be successful.

Joining Wisconsin is quite a reward for Wilcox. The Badgers' defense was ranked second in the nation last season, allowing just 268.5 total yards per game. That's a big step up compared to his USC defense. 

Wisconsin's defense helped them finish the season 10-3, including a win in the Holiday Bowl. Allowing just 20 offensive touchdowns last season, the prospect of taking over this kind of defense is just one of the things that excites Wilcox:

It is humbling to be able to work at a place with the personality and character that Wisconsin has. The biggest draws to the program were the opportunity to work for Coach Chryst and with the rest of the staff, as well as the student-athletes that Wisconsin has in the program. Everything about the culture and tradition of the program, from recruiting, to style of play, to development of players, was appealing to me. This is a special opportunity and I am excited to get started.

Wilcox and his defense will have an opportunity to endear themselves to their fans and head coach during the first week of the 2016 season when they take on LSU and its defense led by none other than Aranda. 

If they can take down a strong SEC team while limiting its big offensive stars like running back Leonard Fournette in Week 1, it could lay the groundwork for something special for Wilcox and Wisconsin in 2016.  

Stats courtesy of NCAA.com