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REPORT: Tulane DC emerges as new candidate for same position at Arkansas

Tulane v Temple Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Razorback football program may have zeroed in on their next defensive coordinator. Tulane’s Chris Hampton, one of the best Group of Five coordinators, was able to rally his troops this fall after struggling to a 2-10 campaign in 2021.

The report comes from Fox Sports, Bruce Feldman:

Hampton’s defense helped contribute to one of the best turnarounds in college football history finishing with an 11-2 record and a berth in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

In 2022 alone, the Green Wave defense dominated the American Athletic Conference. They finished with a league championship season, finishing with the 15th ranked defense and second in the AAC. They boasted the best third down defense in their league.

With the hire, Hampton would replace Barry Odom who took over as head coach at UNLV this month. Hampton will be tasked of rebuilding a secondary that was one of the worst in not only the SEC but all of college football. Finishing 118th (273.9 ypg passing) out of 131 FBS teams.

Profile on Tulane’s website:

Chris Hampton is in his sixth season serving on the Green Wave coaching staff in 2022 and his second serving as the team’s defensive coordinator.

Hampton spent the 2020 campaign at Duke University where he served as the Blue Devils cornerbacks coach. After spending the 2020 regular season at Duke, Hampton returned to Tulane in December of 2020 where he would coach in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

In 2019, Hampton guided a defensive backs unit that ranked fifth in the American Athletic Conference (AAC) in pass defense efficiency (123.4). The Green Wave finished third in the league in interceptions (12) as safety Larry Brooks posted a team-best four picks. Tulane registered 51 pass breakups and 23 quarterback pressures, while safeties Chase Kuerschen (76) and P.J. Hall (68) led the team in tackles. Both Kuerschen and P.J. Hall combined to record 144 tackles, four interceptions, 11 pass breakups, 6.0 tackles for loss, and three forced fumbles.

During the 2018 campaign, Hampton established the Green Wave as one of the American Athletic Conference’s top pass defenses, as Tulane led the nation in passes broken up.

The Green Wave also led the league and ranked first nationally in passes defended, finishing with 88. In the Green Wave’s matchup with ECU, Hampton’s unit was responsible for an NCAA-record 20 pass breakups.

Tulane’s secondary played a major role in generating turnovers as it collected 12 interceptions which ranked fourth in The American and 40th nationally.

Following the Green Wave secondary’s impressive 2018 campaign, Hampton was recognized nationally by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) with the 35 Under 35 Award.

Under Hampton’s watch, cornerback Donnie Lewis Jr. and Roderic Teamer Jr. both received Second Team All-AAC honors. In April, both Lewis and Teamer would go on to sign NFL contracts. Lewis was drafted in the seventh round of the NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns, while Teamer inked a free agent deal with the Los Angeles Rams.

In 2017, Hampton’s cornerbacks limited opponents to 225.7 yards per game through the air, which ranked fourth in The American and in the top half of the NCAA.

Tulane cornerbacks also accounted for nine interceptions with Parry Nickerson leading the way with six.

Following the year, Nickerson would go on to earn First Team All-American Athletic Conference honors.

In his first season at Tulane, Hampton coached a defensive backfield that featured Nickerson, who earned Second Team All-AAC honors by the league’s coaches and Second Team All-Louisiana from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.

Prior to Tulane, Hampton spent the previous four years as the defensive backs coach at McNeese State.

Following the 2015 season, a total of three Cowboy defensive backs earned All-Southland Conference honors, including Defensive Player of the Year and First Team selection Wallace Scott. In addition to conference honors, Scott was named to the AFCA’s FCS All-America Team while earning Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All-Louisiana honors from the Louisiana Sports Writer’s Association.

In 2014, Hampton helped coach free safety Aaron Sam to First Team All-Southland Conference and All-Louisiana honors as well as fellow safety Brent Spikes who led the team in both tackles and interceptions. Spikes set a new McNeese, Southland Conference and Louisiana single game record with 148 interception return yards on three picks at Incarnate Word on Oct. 25. Those three interceptions tied a school single-game record.

In 2013, he coached Guy Morgan to First Team All-Southland Conference and All-Louisiana honors as well as Third Team All-America honors from The Sports Network.

Hampton began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Arkansas State in 2008 and followxed that up with two seasons as a graduate assistant at Georgia Tech (2009-10). He then spent one season as the safeties coach at Central Arkansas (2011) before joining the McNeese State staff.

Hampton played collegiate football at South Carolina where he was a four-year letterwinner and a two-year starter as a safety for the Gamecocks. He also earned the team’s Harold White Award which is given to the player with the highest grade point average.