DJ Durkin emerges as a candidate for Auburn’s defensive coordinator job

Auburn may be on the verge of adding a defensive coordinator with SEC experience.

According to Matt Zenitz of 247Sports, former Texas A&M defensive coordinator DJ Durkin has become a target to replace Ron Roberts on Auburn’s staff. If hired, Durkin would split defensive coordinator duties with Charles Kelly, who returns to his alma mater after most recently spending a season on Deion Sanders’ staff at Colorado.

Under Durkin’s leadership, Texas A&M has posted a top-five defensive within the SEC over the last two seasons. The Aggies ended the 2023 season with the conference’s fifth-best defense, allowing 22.1 points and 316.2 yards per contest. Texas A&M’s defense was considered to be better than Ole Miss, South Carolina, and LSU last season.

Before his time in College Station, Durkin was defensive coordinator for Lane Kiffin at Ole Miss during the 2020 and 2021 seasons. The Rebels’ defense progressed in his two seasons, moving from No. 14 in the SEC in 2020 to No. 8 in 2021. He also served as defensive coordinator at Florida from 2013-14, where he coached the Gators’ defense to a No. 3 ranking in the SEC in 2013. In between stops in SEC country, Durkin led the Maryland Terrapins as head coach from 2016-18, where he failed to win more than six games during his stay.

Head coach Hugh Freeze has added three assistant coaches to his staff since the end of the 2023 season. Joining Kelly is Derrick Nix, who joins Auburn’s staff as offensive coordinator and running backs coach after spending 16 seasons at Ole Miss. Freeze has also promoted Kent Austin to quarterbacks coach after he spent last season as an assistant to Freeze.

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Story originally appeared on Auburn Wire