Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

USC Coaching Staff: Grading The Justin Wilcox Hire

Despite coaching the defense to a significant turnaround from the 2012 season, Clancy Pendergast was not retained by Steve Sarkisian.

Instead, Sarkisian tapped former Washington defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox as the man who will be responsible for overseeing USC’s defense in 2014.

In a poll that was posted prior to the Trojans’ and Huskies’ bowl games, Pendergast ran away with the votes as to who should be the defensive coordinator.

Wilcox is a reputable coach who guided the Huskies’ defense to the top of the national ranks in multiple statistical categories.

In 2013, the Huskies recorded 41 sacks, which placed them at No. 4 in the country.  They added 16 interceptions in 13 games, compared to the Trojans’ 17 interceptions in 14 games.

Prior to joining the Huskies in 2012, Wilcox was the defensive coordinator at Tennessee.  The 2011 Volunteers’ defense was ranked No. 28 in total defense.

Wilcox’s first stop as a defensive coordinator was with Boise State, where he held the title from 2006 to 2009.  During that span, the Broncos were 49-4 and winners of the 2007 Fiesta Bowl.

The Broncos led the Western Athletic Conference in defense in each of Wilcox’s four seasons with the team.  In 2008, the Broncos were No. 3 nationally in scoring defense as they held eight of their 13 opponents to 10 points or less.

Where Wilcox may make the largest impact is on the recruiting trail, which is something NFL-minded Pendergast reportedly didn’t care much for.

By joining Sarkisian at USC, Wilcox will begin his fourth stint as a defensive coordinator at a new university in nine years.

Final Grade: B+

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