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Purdue Football: Who Could be the Next Defensive Coordinator?

Purdue has moved on from Defensive Coordinator Nick Holt, but who could be next?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 05 Purdue at Penn State Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We have heard the news bu now - Nick Holt is not being retained as Purdue’s Defensive Coordinator for the 2020 season.

That leaves us with more questions for the defense leading into the 2020 season - outside of the secondary and linebacker.

Coach Holt gave us an outstanding first year at Purdue, then the second year was okay - but year 3 was downright dreadful, allowing more than 30 points per game.

This may be the most vital hire of the Brohm era to date. He has built some momentum with great recruiting classes, sure, we struggled this season, but having 18 scholarship players hurt did not help us at all.

We have a chance to hire a defensive coordinator that can propel us to the next level or can set us back.

I asked Twitter who they prefer - we will get to those later in the post. First, I will give you my top 4 candidates that I would love seeing command the Purdue Defense for the coming years.

  • Marcus Freeman - Defensive Coordinator - Cincinnati

Does this name sound familiar? It should. Marcus Freeman was the Boilers LB coach from 2013 to 2016 before being plucked by Luke Fickell to go to Cincinnati. Since joining there, Cincinnati has been one of the most consistent teams in college football, especially in the American. This year, Marcus’ defense only allowed 21 points per game, good for 30th in the nation. He knows the landscape of the big ten just as good as anyone as well. He played for Ohio State. then Coached there and at Purdue. Marcus is still only 33 years old and would be an excellent addition for recruiting as well, knowing Ohio extremely well.

Marcus is my top option to replace Holt, a young, charismatic guy who can reach these young men would be huge. He was probably the best hire of the Hazell era - his only mistake was not promoting him to defensive coordinator before the Hazell Era ended.

  • Anthony Poindexter - Safeties/Co-Defensive Coordinator - Purdue University

This seems obvious to me. A hire from within, take away the “Co” title. Poindexter has been the “C’” DC since he arrived in 2017 - but he wasn’t actually making calls. He is sitll relatively young and has done a nice job of helping with the recruiting front. His safeties have not been fantastic, but we have finally gotten a few safety recruits that will help with that issue. Poindexter seems like the obvious hire to me. Has familiarity with Coach Brohm and his expectations and has been a full time DC before in the past.

  • Derrick Jackson - Defensive Coordinator - Northern Illinois

Another guy who I think might be an obvious hire. Coach Jackson was with Purdue during the first two years of the Brohm Era. This was his first year at NIU - they went 5-7 and his defense was not outstanding, but he is another guy who is familiar with the high expectations from Coach Brohm.

While he was at Purdue, he got 4 corners to be named to the all conference team - which is much better than what we saw this year in the secondary.

I think familiarity will play a huge role who is hired into this defensive coordinator spot.

  • Tracy Claeys - Free Agent (Stepped Down at Wazzu Mid-Season) - Successful under Jerry Kill

Claeys is right at the top for me with Marcus Freeman. He is a bit older and struggled at Wazzu, but there is 0 defense played at Wazzu. In 5 years of being the DC, his defenses ranked 93 (Year 1), 45 (Year 2), 25 (Year 3), 34 (Year 4), 45 (year 5) and his lone year as the head coach at Minnesota his defense was 21st in the nation. He also went 9-4 as his 1 year as a head coach at Minnesota.

He is extremely familiar with the Big Ten. Especially the teams in the west. He is a proven commodity as well.

Twitter World

  • Chris Ash

The former head coach at Rutgers is currently serving as a senior analyst for the Texas Longhorns. He is familiar with the big ten landscape, with stops at Wisconsin, Ohio State and Rutgers.

It appears that he may be a bit of a hot head - similar to Holt, I am not sure that we go in that direction. But if we do, I personally would be okay with it. He knows the B1G and has a at on of experience as a DC and Head Coach.

  • Barry Odom


But his Resume is outstanding. While at Memphis he lead the Tigers to a couple of seasons with a top 25 defense. The last couple of seasons he has struggled at Mizzou on both sides of the ball.

  • Charlie Strong

He is a better coordinator than Head Football Coach - that is pretty obvious. He was just fired though, he doesn’t have to work and still gets paid. Why work?

Charlie was the DC for those great Florida Gator Teams from 2003 to 2009 - there were a couple of championships during that time. As a HC at Louisville, he was wildly successful before heading to Texas - but struggling. His last stop was at South Florida.

  • Brock Spack

I would love to see Coach Spack in the Old Gold & Black again. Unfortunately, the bridge has been burnt twice. 1. Hiring Hope over him. 2. Hiring Brohm over him. He has Illinois State rolling too.

  • T-Mill?


  • Baby Yoda?