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Former NFL coach Steve Wilks is headed back to college.
Wilks has agreed to become the defensive coordinator at Missouri, sources told Yahoo Sports. The former Arizona Cardinals coach going to the SEC marks one of the offseason’s most surprising transactions.
Wilks hasn’t worked in college football in nearly 15 years, and the decision for the former NFL head coach to join Eliah Drinkwitz’s staff in Columbia brings defensive credibility and a potential recruiting lure.
Wilks is best known for his time in the NFL ranks, where he’s been since 2006 before taking the 2020 season off. Wilks rose to become the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals in 2018 before getting fired after a 3-13 season. He spent 2019 as Cleveland’s defensive coordinator. He ascended the NFL ranks to become the defensive coordinator in Carolina in 2017 after stops in Chicago and San Diego.
Wilks replaces Missouri defensive coordinator Ryan Walters, who left Columbia to become Bret Bielema’s defensive coordinator at Illinois. Wilks started his career in college football, with assistant coaching stops that include Appalachian State (2001), Bowling Green (2003), Notre Dame (2004) and Washington (2005).
Missouri went 5-5 in Drinkwitz’s first season, including wins over LSU and Kentucky. Missouri’s defense finished No. 85 in the country, allowing 32.3 points per game.
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