(Photo: Scotty Bara/WCSN)
Arizona State announced on Wednesday that it has decided to hire Phil Bennett as its new defensive coordinator.
Bennett previously held the same position at Baylor since 2011. In addition, Bennett has served as the defensive coordinator at Pittsburgh, Kansas State, and TCU among others, and was the head coach from 2002-2007 at SMU.
Todd Graham has agreed to relinquish all control of the defense, meaning Bennett will likely be bringing his own style.
“He (Bennett) has been associated with successful defenses everywhere he’s been,” Graham said in a press release. “We are very fortunate to have him bring his level of experience to the Sun Devil program.”
Bennett will have a tall task ahead of him when it comes to rebuilding a defense that was 127th in the NCAA in total defense and allowed more passing yards than any other team. JoJo Wicker, Koron Crump, Kareem Orr, and Marcus Ball are among the notable returners on the defensive unit.
The Sun Devils previous defensive coordinator Keith Patterson is expected to stay with the team and coach the linebackers.
Football Scoop was first with the news, while Sun Devil Source and Jeff Metcalfe of AZCentral added additional details.
Former tight ends coach Del Alexander agreed to become the wide receivers coach at Notre Dame, opening up another spot on ASU’s coaching staff.
Running back Kalen Ballage will be returning for his senior season, according to Metcalfe. Ballage had 536 rushing yards and 15 total touchdowns last season.