STATESBORO, Ga. (WSAV) – The Georgia Southern Eagles have hired former Washington Huskies defensive backs coach Will Harris as their new defensive coordinator.

This announcement confirms a first report from Yahoo’s Pete Thamel.

Harris spent the past four years in Seattle; the first two as Washington’s assistant defensive backs coach and the last two in charge of that position group. The 2021 Huskies allowed the fewest yards per completion in the nation (8.87) and per game (143.3).

Several NFL players have come through Harris’ defensive back corps, including Los Angeles Rams safety Taylor Rapp, Cardinals cornerback Byron Murphy and Titans CB Elijah Molden.

Prior to his time in Washington, Harris spent two years coaching defensive backs at San Jose State.

Harris, much like head coach Clay Helton, has ties to University of Southern California; he played defensive back and safety for four years under then-head coach Pete Carroll.

It’s not hard to see why Georgia Southern is favoring a DBs coach for the top defensive job. The Eagles fielded one of the worst-performing secondary units in the nation in 2021, surrendering the seventh-most total yards in the country through the air and the sixth-most yards per completion.

Injuries did not do the Eagles any favors; they lost preseason all-conference selection Derrick Canteen early in the season to a torn pectoral muscle. Georgia Southern’s secondary depth got thin enough that wide receiver NaJee Thompson had to switch positions and join the defensive side of the ball.

This hire complements the staff that Helton has already hired on offense; most notably coordinator Bryan Ellis. Helton had previously said he wanted to focus on the offense first since former interim head coach Kevin Whitley was being retained in the cornerbacks coach role and could provide some stability on defense.