Oklahoma State's Jim Knowles Hired by Ohio State as DC on Ryan Day's Staff

Erin WalshContributor IDecember 7, 2021

MANHATTAN, KS - OCTOBER 13: Oklahoma State Cowboys defensive coordinator Jim Knowles on the sidelines during a Big 12 football game between the Oklahoma State Cowboys and Kansas State Wildcats on October 13, 2018 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, KS.  (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

Oklahoma State's Jim Knowles will join Ohio State as a defensive coordinator on Ryan Day's staff, per ESPN's Adam Rittenberg.

Knowles will replace Kerry Coombs and become Day's third defensive coordinator in three seasons.

"What is most important at this time is that we put our players in the best position possible to finish the season with a win in the Rose Bowl," Day told reporters. "To that end, we will continue our planning and preparation for the game with our current staff of 10 assistant coaches."

Knowles has served as Oklahoma State's defensive coordinator for the past four seasons and was a 2021 finalist for the Broyles Award, which is given to college football's top assistant coach.

Oklahoma State's defense is ranked third in the nation in yards per game. In addition, it ranks fourth in yards per play and seventh in scoring. According to The Athletic's Bill Landis, Oklahoma State also ranks second in third-down defense, a category in which it led in 2020.

The Cowboys allowed 273.6 yards per game in 2021: 89.2 yards on the ground and 184.4 in the air.

Ohio State, meanwhile, finished the 2021 season allowing 366.6 yards per game, which ranked 52nd in FBS. The Buckeyes defense allowed 119.7 rush yards per game, in addition to 246.9 passing yards per game. This comes after the team's defense gave up 401.9 yards per game in 2020, the second-highest mark in the school's history.

Knowles began his coaching career at Cornell in 1988 and served in various roles until he was hired as the defensive line coach at Western Michigan in 1997. He was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2001 and remained in that position until 2002.

Knowles then joined Ole Miss in 2003 as a linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator before joining Duke as a defensive coordinator from 2010 to 2017.

With Knowles' hiring, at least one member of the Buckeyes' coaching staff will need to leave the program so the school remains under the allowed limit for assistant coaches.