Arkansas to hire Deron Wilson as defensive assistant

Head coach Sam Pittman and the Arkansas Razorbacks are reportedly set to fill their final assistant coach opening with Florida cornerbacks analyst Deron Wilson, according to reports. Matt Zenitz of On3 first reported the news.

Wilson spent the 2022 season in the “quality control — cornerbacks” role with the Gators, who had the nation’s No. 84 pass defense, allowing 235.8 passing yards per game. He is expected to join co-defensive coordinator Marcus Woodson as a secondary coach in Fayetteville.

Prior to Wilson’s time at Florida, he spent the 2020-21 seasons as the defensive coordinator at McNeese State, who led the Southland Conference in total defense, scoring defense, rushing defense, sacks and fourth-down defense, while ranking second in third-down defense during the 2021 season.

Before McNeese State, Wilson was a graduate assistant at UTSA from 2016-18, before he was promoted to cornerbacks coach for the 2019-20 seasons. His group ranked No. 74 nationally in passing defense for the 2019 season and No. 49 in 2020.

Wilson, a native of New Orleans, played defensive back at Southern Miss from 2009-12. He started 39 straight games and was selected to the 2010 Freshman All-American Second Team, Conference USA All-Freshman team, and Second Team All-C-USA honors from Phil Steele. He was part of secondary that broke the NCAA record for interceptions returned for touchdowns with eight and won the C-USA Championship during the 2011 season, according to his bio on the Florida Athletics website.

Arkansas now has its on-field assistant staff fully filled out after plenty of turnover since the end of the season.

Going out on the defensive side of the ball was defensive coordinator Barry Odom, linebackers coach Michael Scherer and cornerbacks coach Dominique Bowman. The new faces include defensive coordinator Travis Williams, Woodson as co-defensive coordinator and Wilson as a secondary coach to some degree, likely cornerbacks (official title to come).

On offense, the Hogs saw the departures of tight ends coach Dowell Loggains and offensive coordinator Kendal Briles. Pittman brought in Morgan Turner to replace Loggains and Dan Enos to replace Briles.

Pittman also replaced former strength and conditioning coach Jamil Walker with Ben Sowders in December.

According to HawgBeat’s count, the on-field assistant salary pool sits at $5.54 million, not including what Wilson’s salary will be. That number is $600,000 less than the program-record salary pool for last year’s 10 on-field assistants. It is unclear how much Wilson was making at Florida, but it seems likely that Arkansas’ total salary pool will come out below last year’s number of $6.14 million.