Daily Times Leader

Lebby hires Hutzler as MSU defensive coordinator

A Southeastern Conference coaching veteran, Coleman Hutzler was hired as Mississippi State's new defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach Friday by head coach Jeff Lebby.

"Coach Hutzler has helped lead many of the most successful programs in the nation and developed players who not only reached the NFL but excelled there and had outstanding careers," Lebby said. "Put simply, he knows exactly what winning football looks like, and he's gotten the most out of his players at every one of his stops. Coach Hutzler demands a toughness and intensity from his players, and we're thrilled to add his drive and expertise to our staff."

Hutzler, who has earned a reputation as an elite recruiter and developer of talent, arrives at Mississippi State with a strong coaching resume that spans nearly two decades. He has experience coaching defense at every level and in multiple Power 5 conferences, including the SEC. Hutlzer has coached at Alabama, Ole Miss, South Carolina and Florida within the SEC. In 2017, while at South Carolina, Hutzler was nominated for the Broyles Award.

During Hutzler's career, 14 players have gone on to play in the National Football League. His former players have accounted for more than 30 All-Conference honors, more than 25 All-America honors, four Conference Player of the Year awards and four National Player of the Year awards.

"I'm honored and excited to join the Bulldog family and this outstanding staff Coach Lebby is assembling," Hutzler said. "I look forward to building upon the storied history and tradition of elite defensive play here in Starkville."

Hired by Nick Saban in 2022, Hutlzer has spent the last two seasons in Tuscaloosa as the team's outside linebackers coach and special teams coordinator.

During the 2023 season, Hutzler helped Alabama have one of the best special teams units in the country. The Crimson Tide ranks sixth nationally in yards per punt (46.7) while ranking 15th in field goal percentage (87). He has helped guide place kicker Will Reichard to become college football's alltime leading scorer with 530 career points.

Hutzler's linebacking core has helped the Crimson Tide defense rank second in the SEC and ninth in the nation in total sacks with 38 (-260 yards) while also ranking third in the SEC in tackles for loss with 82 (-365 yards), a total that ranks 25th nationally. A trio of Crimson Tide linebackers currently rank inside the top seven in the SEC for total sacks. Leading the way is Dallas Turner, who has nine for the year, one shy of tying Mississippi State's Bookie Watson for the SEC lead.

In his first season with the Crimson Tide, Hutzler helped the Crimson Tide rank 16th nationally in sacks per game (2.9) and 22nd in tackles for loss per game (6.9). Will Anderson Jr. finished with 17 tackles for loss and 10 sacks while making 51 tackles and registering 12 quarterback hurries to go with Dallas Turner's eight tackles for loss and four sacks. Anderson swept the national awards, winning the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Bednarik Award as the National Defensive Player of the Year along with capturing the Lombardi Award and the Lott IMPACT Trophy.

The Tide's special teams also saw a marked improvement, with Alabama ranking third nationally in punt returns (16.73 yards per return). Will Reichard set the career record for points scored while making 22-of-26 field goals and all 64 extra points. Punter James Burnip also found his stride, averaging 42.2 yards per punt with only two touchbacks while adding 20 fair catches and downing 13 punts inside the 20.

Hutzler arrived in Tuscaloosa after spending the 2021 season as the special teams coordinator at Ole Miss, where the Rebels ranked second in the SEC in punt returns and third in punt return defense while ranking fifth in field goal percentage.

Prior to his time in Oxford, Hutzler spent one season in Texas in 2020 as the co-defensive coordinator. His defense ranked in the top 9 in the FBS in fourth down conversion defense (.333), and Longhorn junior Joseph Ossai earned consensus All-America honors under Hutzler's guidance. Ossai ranked No. 14 in the country with 16 tackles for loss, registering 55 total stops and leading the Big 12 in forced fumbles with three.

Hutzler spent four seasons (2016-19) at the University of South Carolina, where he led the special teams unit and coached the linebackers.

In 2019, Hutzler's special teams units ranked in the top 20 nationally in two categories, including rating No. 10 in net punting (41.96 yards per punt) and No. 16 in punt return average (13.27 yards per punt). Punter Joseph Charlton earned second team All-SEC honors on his way to setting the school record in punting average, ranking second in the nation at 47.7 yards per punt.

Placekicker Parker White also continued to improve, posting the third-best field goal percentage in the SEC at 81.8% after connecting on 81.2% of his kicks in 2018, a significant increase from a 56% success rate in 2017.

In 2018, Hutzler mentored return specialist Deebo Samuel. Samuel tallied his schoolrecord fourth career kickoff return for a touchdown, tying the SEC mark, and was chosen first team All-SEC as a return specialist.

In 2017, Hutzler was nominated for the Broyles Award, which goes to the nation's top assistant coach. Charlton logged another one of the school's top single-season punting averages at 43.5 yards per punt, ranking among the nation's top 30. Samuel returned each of his two kickoffs for touchdowns in the season's first two games.

Under Hutzler's tutelage in 2016, the South Carolina kickoff return team led the SEC and ranked eighth in the nation, averaging 25.8 yards per return. A trio of players, Samuel, A.J. Turner and Rashad Fenton, all returned a kick at least 50 yards, with Samuel posting a 100-yard touchdown return. Placekicker Elliott Fry became the school's all-time leading scorer, while snapper Drew Williams was recognized as a fourth team AllAmerican.

Hutzler spent the 2015 season as the special teams coordinator ves. and outside linebackers coach at Boston College. During his year in Chestnut Hill, Hutzler was part of a staff that produced the nation's stingiest defense, as the Eagles allowed just 254.3 yards per game, 82.8 rush yards per game and a mere 24.1 percent of third down conversions. On special teams, Michael Walker ranked in the top 10 nationally in kick return average and Boston College blocked three punts.

Previously, Hutzler logged two stints at Florida, first from 2010-11 as an assistant to the linebackers and special teams coordinator, then again for the 2014 season, handling special teams and outside linebackers.

In 2014, Florida had the second-best punt return average in the SEC and the 17th-best unit in the nation. Punter Kyle Christy earned second team All-SEC honors after averaging 44.3 yards per punt, the nation's 14th-best average. Outside linebacker Dante Fowler was drafted third overall in 2015 by Jacksonville after producing 15 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks under Hutzler's tutelage.

Between his stints in Gainesville, Hutzler was the special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach at New Mexico from 2012-13. He coached punter Ben Skaer to first team All-Mountain West accolades and returner Carlos Wiggins to MWC Special Teams Player of the Year and a second team AllAmerica honor in 2013.

Hutzler began his coaching career at the University of San Diego, working as a defensive assistant in 2006. He moved to Palo Alto to become a recruiting assistant at Stanford in 2007 and served as an assistant on the defensive side of the ball for the Cardinal in 2008 and 2009.

A native of Las Vegas, Hutzler played football at Middlebury College in Vermont, earning his degree in psychology. A linebacker from 200205, he was a team captain as a senior and left the program second in career tackles.






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