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Maryland football hires Jon Hoke as defensive coordinator, per reports

It took a while, but Mike Locksley has his top defensive assistant.

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Minicamp Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

New Maryland football coach Mike Locksley has his defensive coordinator, as Jon Hoke is reportedly coming to College Park.

The news was first reported by InsideMdSports’ Jeff Ermann, with multiple other reports coming Thursday morning.

Hoke, 61, brings nearly four decades of coaching experience at the college and pro levels. He most recently served as the defensive backs coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but a head coaching change had him on the job hunt. Hoke hasn’t served as a sole defensive coordinator since 2001 at Florida.

The Ohio native and Ball State alumnus is the older brother of former Michigan head coach Brady Hoke. Jon’s lengthy career started in 1982 as the defensive backs coach at Dayton. He bounced around the FBS ranks for the next two decades, making stops at Bowling Green, San Diego State, Kent State, Missouri and Florida. He’s spent most of this century coaching NFL defensive backs, working for the Texans from 2002-08, the Bears from 2009-14 and the Buccaneers from 2016-18. Hoke was co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach at South Carolina in 2015.

This ends what was somewhat of a struggle as Locksley sought his defensive coordinator. He reportedly made offers to Raiders defensive backs coach Derrick Ansley and Tennessee special teams coordinator Charles Kelly (who’s now on Alabama’s staff) but was turned down by both.

Maryland’s defense improved in 2018 from its first two seasons under defensive coach DJ Durkin, leading the country in interceptions. But stalwarts Tre Watson and Darnell Savage, as well as top pass rushers Jesse Aniebonam and Byron Cowart, are gone. Antoine Brooks, Tino Ellis and Adam McLean will return to anchor the unit in 2019.

Maryland has now reportedly hired eight of 10 on-field assistant coaches. The offensive staff has been filled, and the only openings remaining are at defensive line and linebackers coach.