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Auburn hires longtime defensive coordinator DJ Durkin to run defense

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Auburn coach Hugh Freeze has hired former Maryland head coach and Texas A&M defensive coordinator DJ Durkin to run his defense.

Freeze announced the move Wednesday. Durkin was with the Aggies the past two years after two seasons at Mississippi and has also coached at Michigan and Florida.

“DJ has been a successful defensive coordinator at multiple stops in the Southeastern Conference,” Freeze said. “I’ve always been impressed with his schemes and game plans, including the two times I have faced his teams in recent years. Texas A&M’s defense was fast, physical, and well coached.”

The Aggies ranked No. 3 in the Southeastern Conference and No. 19 nationally in total defense last season while leading the league in run defense and sacks.

Durkin spent one season in the NFL as a consultant for the Atlanta Falcons in 2018 after two seasons as Maryland's head coach.

Maryland fired Durkin in October 2018, about five months after offensive lineman Jordan McNair collapsed on the practice field and later died of heatstroke.

Durkin had been placed on administrative leave before the season while the board of regents waited for results of an investigation on the culture of the program. After receiving that report, the board decided to bring him back, saying he was “unfairly blamed for the dysfunction in the athletic department.”

Maryland fired Durkin just more than 24 hours later after facing backlash for the decision.

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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-football