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Illinois DC Ryan Walters Named Purdue Football HC After Jeff Brohm Exit

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVDecember 13, 2022

CHAMPAIGN, IL - NOVEMBER 05: Illinois Fighting Illini defensive coordinator Ryan Walters walks the field before the college football game between the Michigan State Spartans and the Illinois Fighting Illini on November 5, 2022, at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Purdue named Ryan Walters as its next football head coach on Tuesday.

Purdue Football @BoilerFootball

The next chapter of 𝐏𝐮𝐫𝐝𝐮𝐞 𝐅𝐨𝐨𝐭𝐛𝐚𝐥𝐥 is here. <a href="https://twitter.com/Coach_Walters?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Coach_Walters</a>, 𝐁𝐎𝐈𝐋𝐄𝐑 𝐔𝐏!<br><br>🔗: <a href="https://t.co/jTyKsMDFxB">https://t.co/jTyKsMDFxB</a> <a href="https://t.co/h7kxw6mehV">pic.twitter.com/h7kxw6mehV</a>

The announcement fills the vacancy created when former head coach Jeff Brohm left for his alma mater Louisville.

Walters, 36, becomes the fourth-youngest head coach in FBS after spending the past two years as the defensive coordinator at Illinois.

"Purdue is a world-class university, and our football program will pursue the same excellence exhibited across our campus," Walters said in a statement. "My wife Tara and I, along with our boys, are beyond excited to join the Purdue and West Lafayette communities. Boiler Up!"

Illinois currently has the No. 1 scoring defense in college football this season, allowing just 12.3 points per game en route to an 8-4 record. Only three of 12 opponents topped 20 points against the Illini this year, while even No. 2 Michigan was held in check before pulling out a 19-17 win.

It's been part of a massive transformation for Illinois, which went 2-6 during the shortened 2020 season with a defense that was tied for 97th in college football in points allowed (34.9 per game).

Walters turned things around after arriving in 2021, leading the 29th-ranked scoring defense (21.9 ppg), before putting together an elite unit in 2022.

The former Colorado safety transitioned to coaching after graduating in December 2008, becoming a student assistant for the Buffaloes. After stops at Arizona, Oklahoma, North Texas and Memphis, Walters spent six seasons at Missouri and worked his way up to defensive coordinator.

The coach will look to continue his success at Purdue, which went 17-9 the past two years under Brohm. The squad earned a trip to the Big Ten title game this year and will head to the Citrus Bowl against LSU with an 8-5 record.