January 28, 2016

MADISON, Wis. (AP) Former Southern California assistant Justin Wilcox is poised to become the defensive coordinator at Wisconsin.

Badgers coach Paul Chryst on Thursday announced the hiring, which was pending approval from the university's Board of Regents.

Wilcox spent the last two seasons as USC's defensive coordinator. He was fired after Clay Helton took over the Trojans' head coaching job full time after the regular season ended and before USC faced Wisconsin in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 30.

Wilcox's defense struggled for stretches last season despite a wealth of five-star talent. In 2014, USC was in the top 20 in turnover margin, red zone defense and third-down conversion defense.

Wilcox has 10 years of experience overall as a coordinator, including stops at Washington, Tennessee and Boise State.

''During my many conversations with numerous football people that I trusted, one name kept surfacing: Justin Wilcox,'' Chryst said. ''He has tremendous experience at some big-time schools and has coached some really good players.''

Chryst said Wilcox did a good job of putting players in the ''best situations so they can be successful.'' It's a quality that also made Wilcox's predecessor at Wisconsin, Dave Aranda, successful in Madison.

Aranda, whose annual salary at Wisconsin was about $520,000, left this month to take the same position at LSU, where he was expected to receive a significant raise.

Wisconsin's defense was among the best in the country during Aranda's three-year tenure. Safety Michael Caputo, linebacker Joe Schobert and cornerback Darius Hilary, all seniors, are among the most significant losses for the Badgers going into the 2016 season.

But they should have another strong linebacking corps, led by Vince Biegel and Jack Cichy on the outside and Chris Orr and T.J. Edwards on the inside.

The 39-year-old Wilcox played safety and cornerback at Oregon in the late 1990s.

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AP College Football site: http://collegefootball.ap.org/

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