Notre Dame has found its next defensive coordinator, hiring the top coach on the market, Cincinnati defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman.
“As we looked into finding someone to run our defense, it was important to find the right fit for our program and Marcus and his family are just that,” said head coach Brian Kelly. “He has had great success on the field, both running a defense and in his direct work with his linebackers. Additionally, he is considered among the elite recruiters in the coaching ranks.
“The work Marcus has done elevating the programs he has been a part of speaks for itself, but equally as important is the exceptional work he has done in building relationships with his staff and players. Marcus was our top choice to become our next defensive coordinator, and we are pleased he and his family will be joining us at Notre Dame.”
This news was first reported by Irish Illustrated, and it is a stunning comeback for Kelly and Notre Dame. Sources had indicated to me that Freeman was leaning towards not coming to Notre Dame, but Kelly was able to convince Freeman to jump on board.
Landing Freeman is huge for Kelly and the Irish. He's an elite teacher, has built a reputation as a tremendous recruiter and he's shown the ability to be highly flexible with his defense.
Freeman had been the Cincinnati defensive coordinator for each of the last four seasons. Prior to that he was the co-defensive coordinator at Purdue as a 29-year old. He coached linebackers at Purdue from 2013-15, coached linebackers for two years at Kent State (2011-12) and he began his career as a graduation assistant at Ohio State (2010).
Freeman played linebacker for the Buckeyes from 2004-2008.
Freeman inherited a poor defense when he and head coach Luke Fickell arrived prior to the 2017 season. Cincinnati gave up almost 30 points per game in the three years prior to their arrival, but by his second season the Bearcats had a top-ranked defense.
To read more about Freeman and what makes him such a strong candidate for this position, you can read the previous Irish Breakdown article HERE.
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