D.J. Durkin is expected to be Auburn’s new defensive coordinator, Auburn Undercover has learned.
A veteran defensive coach who spent the last four seasons working in the Southeastern Conference as the coordinator at first Ole Miss and then at Texas A&M the last two seasons, DJ Durkin is expected to make another move in the league with Hugh Freeze tabbing him to take over the role as the defensive coordinator for the Auburn Tigers, a source has confirmed to Auburnundercover.com.
Playing at Bowling Green from 1997–2000, Durkin got his coaching career started at his alma mater as a grad assistant and moved to Notre Dame in the same role before returning to Bowling Green as a full assistant in 2005. His first big opportunity came in 2007, when he moved to coach with Jim Harbaugh at Stanford. He spent three seasons there before going to Florida to reunite with Urban Meyer, whom he got started with at Bowling Green.
Durkin was the defensive coordinator for the Gators in 2013–14 under Will Muschamp, taking over for Dan Quinn. He moved to Michigan as the defensive coordinator in 2015 before getting a shot as a head coach at Maryland in 2016. He coached for two seasons with the Terps but was fired after backlash from the death of Jordan McNair following a workout.
After consulting with the Atlanta Falcons the following season, Durkin was hired at Ole Miss, where he coached for two seasons before making the move to Texas A&M.
Despite a team that struggled last season and eventually led to the firing of Jimbo Fisher, the Aggies were a solid team on defense last season, finishing 19th nationally in total defense. In his first season at Texas A&M, Durkin’s defense finished 25th in the country in scoring defense.
In his first season at Texas A&M, Durkin’s defense led the nation, allowing the fewest passing yards per game at 156.2. The Aggies held opponents under 150 yards through the air in six games, including three games under 100 yards. Texas A&M ranked No. 17 in the nation and No. 4 in the SEC in passing defense efficiency (117.10) and ranked No. 22 in the country, allowing 20.7 points per game, which ranked fourth in the SEC.
In addition to his significant experience on the field, Durkin has been equally accomplished on the recruiting trail. Durkin has helped ink nine top-25 classes, including five that rank in the top 10 nationally. During his time at Florida, Durkin helped land four straight top-11 recruiting classes and nine five-star prospects.
Prior to his time in Oxford, Durkin spent one season in the NFL as a consultant for the Atlanta Falcons in 2018 after serving as the head coach at Maryland for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. He doubled the Terrapins’ win total during his first season at the helm and excelled on the recruiting trail, bringing in consecutive top-30 signing classes for the first time in program history.
With a history of coaching linebackers, Durkin is expected to coach either inside or outside linebackers for the Tigers along with current linebacker coach Josh Aldridge. The roles are still to be defined.