Maryland has officially completed its football staff with its 10th full-time coach, hiring Old Dominion's Darrell Perkins as the program's new defensive backs coach Monday. Perkins, a former Randy Edsall assistant at Connecticut, replaces former defensive coordinator Brian Stewart, now the defensive backs coach at Nebraska. Maryland's other coaching hire this offseason was running backs coach Terry Richardson, also a former Edsall assistant at UConn.
A graduate of Gateway High School in Colorado, Perkins was a two-year starter at running back for Wyoming in the late 1980s. He returned to Colorado to coach basketball, leading Legacy High School to two state playoff appearances in four years before returning to Gateway as an assistant from 1997-99.
Perkins was hired by Purdue as a defensive assistant prior to the 2000 season, coaching in the 2001 Rose Bowl with the Boilermakers. He left for a job as the defensive backs coach and special teams coordinator at Ferris State in 2002, staying for two years (and helping lead the Bulldogs to a conference-best passing defense) before leaving for the same position at Charleston Southern. In 2004, the Buccaneers allowed just 131 passing yards per game, ranking second in the FCS. After one year as a linebackers coach/special teams coordinator at Northern Colorado, Perkins returned to Charleston Southern as defensive coordinator.
He moved back to the FBS level in 2008 with Louisiana-Monroe as defensive backs coach. The Warhawks ranked 88th in the country in pass efficiency defense that season, and 45th in 2009. Randy Edsall then hired Perkins at Connecticut to replace departed defensive backs coach Scott Lakatos.
It worked -- the Huskies' strong pass defense didn't lose a step, ranking fifth in the country in interceptions and 28th in pass efficiency defense. Perkins stayed after Edsall's departure to Maryland, leading a secondary that ranked No. 36 in the country in pass defense and No. 35 in pass efficiency defense in 2012. Connecticut's staff was dismantled after a disastrous 2013 season, and Perkins ended up the cornerbacks coach at Old Dominion.
The Monarchs' up-tempo, pass-happy offense has never been kind to its defenses, and last year's Old Dominion unit was included. Perkins' group only gave up 229.7 yards per game, but a closer look at the numbers paints a clearer picture: they ranked No. 116 (out of 128) in opponent yards per attempt (8.3) and No. 126 in defensive passing S&P+.
Perkins has a history of recruiting Virginia, both at Connecticut and Old Dominion. He grabbed three-star cornerback Josh Marriner out of the state and three-star defensive end Kenton Adeyemi while with the Huskies. In 2011, he landed six commitments for UConn -- four from Georgia, one from Virginia, one from Florida. His recruiting area with Old Dominion included Central Maryland (Frederick, Prince Georges, Montgomery, Howard) and Washington, D.C., helping sign Kesean Strong and Mufu Taiwo, two locals who were briefly on Maryland's radar.