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A-State Names Harley Defensive Coordinator, Assistant Head Coach

December 24, 2020

Football 12/24/2020 7:45:00 PM

JONESBORO, Ark. (12/25/20) – Arkansas State head football coach Butch Jones announced Friday that Rob Harley has been named the Red Wolves’ assistant head coach and defensive coordinator.

Harley comes to A-State after spending the last six seasons as linebackers coach at Pitt, while also serving as the Panthers’ recruiting coordinator the last four years.

“We are excited to welcome Coach Harley, his wife Danielle and two sons, Paxton and Nash, into the Arkansas State football family,” said Jones.  “Coach Harley has a national reputation as one of the brightest defensive minds in college football.  He is an individual that teaches the details and fundamentals of what it takes to play winning football.  Coach Harley also is an individual who is passionate and will be a great role model to our players and recruits.”

The 2020 Pitt defense allowed just 93.5 yards rushing and 339.5 yards total offense per game to rank fifth and 24th in the nation, respectively.  The Panthers also led all FBS teams in total sacks (46) and tackles for loss (111), while posting 20 turnovers gained in 11 games for the 10th most in the country.  Under Harley’s direction, linebacker SirVocea Dennis was tabbed All-ACC after recording 57 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks on the year.  The sophomore’s 14.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage are tied for the seventh most in the nation.

Harley’s linebackers were also highly instrumental for a Pitt defense in 2019 that yielded only 312.9 yards per contest, ranking 15th nationally. The group combined for 16.5 sacks, helping the Panthers lead the nation in that category (3.92 per game, 51 total). The linebackers’ production was even more impressive considering the starting lineup was fully retooled from 2018.
 
Under Harley’s watch, graduate transfer Kylan Johnson enjoyed the finest season of his career with 10.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. Johnson received Honorable Mention All-ACC recognition and signed as a free agent with the Miami Dolphins. Phil Campbell and Cam Bright, combined for nearly 120 tackles and 17 TFLs.
 
Another recent example of Harley’s ability to develop playmakers is Oluwaseun Idowu, who concluded his collegiate career in 2018 as one of the most prolific tacklers in recent Pitt history. Originally a walk-on, Idowu became a three-year starter, collecting 250 tackles during that span, and was an All-ACC honoree.
 
In 2016, the Panthers’ linebackers helped key a rush defense that finished 16th nationally, yielding just 119.6 yards per game. Matt Galambos enjoyed the best production of his career over the 2015-16 seasons, achieving personal bests in every category under Harley’s watch. Another productive linebacker from that 2016 squad, Bam Bradley, went on to play for the Baltimore Ravens.
 
In Harley’s initial season at Pitt, he oversaw the development of Nicholas Grigsby, a 2015 All-ACC performer who spent time with the Detroit Lions, New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams.
 
Harley joined Pitt after spending the 2014 season as the linebackers coach at FIU, where he helped the Golden Panthers rank among the most disruptive defenses in college football. FIU ranked first nationally in fumble recoveries (19), second in defensive touchdowns (six), fourth in turnovers gained (33), eighth in turnover margin (plus-11 overall; 0.92 margin per game) and 35th in total defense (363.8 yards per game).
 
While at FIU, Harley recruited and coached linebacker Anthony Wint, who would go on to earn All-Conference USA honors and finish his collegiate career second in school history with 336 tackles. Wint went on to sign with the New York Jets.   
 
Harley’s Pitt appointment served as a reunion with Pat Narduzzi. Harley was a graduate assistant at Michigan State for two seasons (2012-13) when Narduzzi was the Spartans’ defensive coordinator.
 
At Michigan State, Harley gained experience on both sides of the ball. In 2013, he worked with the linebackers and special teams, helping the Spartans to a 13-1 record, the Big Ten title and a 24-20 victory over Stanford in the Rose Bowl. Michigan State’s defense yielded just 252.2 yards per game to rank second nationally.
 
In 2012, Harley worked with the Spartans’ offense and special teams. Behind 1,793-yard rusher Le’Veon Bell, Michigan State earned a berth in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, where it defeated TCU, 17-16.
 
During the 2010 and 2011 seasons, Harley served as the defensive backs/linebackers coach and assistant special teams coordinator at Ohio Dominican University, an NCAA Division II program.
 
A former safety at Ohio State (2001-05), Harley earned three letters with the Buckeyes and was a member of their 2002 national championship team. In Harley’s final three seasons, Ohio State posted a 29-8 record, including two victories in the Fiesta Bowl (2003 and 2005 seasons).
 
A 2006 graduate of Ohio State, Harley has deep roots with the Buckeyes. His great uncle is the legendary Chic Harley, the first three-time All-American in Ohio State history.
 
Harley earned his bachelor’s in business administration from Ohio State. He additionally owns a master’s degree in kinesiology from Michigan State.

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Original article source: https://astateredwolves.com/news/2020/12/24/football-a-state-names-harley-defensive-coordinator-assistant-head-coach.aspx | Article may or may not reflect the views of KLEK 102.5 FM or The Voice of Arkansas Minority Advocacy Council

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