Harlon Barnett Officially Named FSU Defensive Coordinator

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured Columnist

Michigan State defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett gives an opening statement during a news conference for the NCAA Cotton Bowl college football game against Alabama, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)
Brandon Wade/Associated Press

Michigan State co-defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett has been named Florida State's new defensive coordinator.

The Seminoles announced the decision on Sunday after Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports first reported the hire on Friday.

Feldman added that Barnett is highly thought of by the players and the coaching staff at MSU. He called it a "big hire" for FSU head coach Willie Taggart.

“I am thrilled to add Coach Barnett to our staff,” Taggart said in the release. “He is a fantastic coach who learned from two of the best defensive minds in the country, and his style of defense will build on the history of dominant and feared defenses in Garnet and Gold. The entire FSU community is going to benefit from having Coach Barnett representing Florida State.”

Florida State brought in Taggart as its new head man after Jimbo Fisher left the Seminoles in favor of Texas A&M.

Barnett has been part of Michigan State's coaching staff since 2007. He served solely as the defensive backs coach from 2007 through 2014 before getting promoted to co-defensive coordinator and assistant head coach.

After going 3-9 in 2016, the Spartans finished 10-3 in 2017. They ranked 19th in the nation defensively with 20.0 points allowed per game.

Prior to his coaching career, which also included stops at LSU and the University of Cincinnati, Barnett was a college and NFL safety.

He starred at Michigan State before going on to enjoy a seven-year NFL career with the Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots and Minnesota Vikings.

Taggart, meanwhile, spent one year as the head coach at Oregon following stints at Western Kentucky and South Florida.

Barnett and Taggart will look to improve upon an FSU defensive unit that ranked 30th in points allowed during the 2017 campaign.

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