Indiana found its replacement for defensive coordinator Kane Wommack on Sunday. The new leader of the defense will be Charlton Warren, who most recently served as the defensive backs coach at Georgia, according to a report from ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg.
Indiana’s previous two coordinator hires, Wommack and current offensive coordinator Nick Sheridan, were in-house hires, but a new face will join the coaching staff for the 2021 season.
Sources: #Indiana is set to hire #Georgia defensive backs coach Charlton Warren as its next defensive coordinator. Warren has coordinator experience at Air Force (2008 to 2013) and has coached DBs at North Carolina, Tennessee, Florida and Nebraska. Replaces Kane Wommack.
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) January 17, 2021
Who is Charlton Warren?
Warren has bounced around from various positional coaching jobs recently, but his roots are at Air Force. He played defensive back for Air Force, and after graduating, spent a decade on active duty with the United States Air Force.
Warren first entered the coaching realm in 2005 when he became a graduate assistant at Air Force. He worked his way up the ladder, holding jobs as defensive backs coach, recruiting coordinator, co-defensive coordinator, associate head coach and defensive coordinator at Air Force.
He later coached defensive backs at Nebraska, North Carolina and Tennessee before becoming the cornerbacks coach at Florida. At Tennessee, Warren helped turn the Volunteer defense into one of the SEC’s stingiest in defending the pass.
Tennessee allowed the second-fewest passing yards and yards per game in the SEC in 2017. Warren made an immediate impact at Florida, propelling the Gators from 81st in takeaways in 2017 to 11th in 2018.
These experiences and success led him to becoming the defensive backs coach at Georgia before the 2019 season. In his first year with the Bulldogs, Georgia’s defense led the nation in scoring defense and rushing defense.
Expanding southern recruiting
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of Warren’s addition to the Indiana coaching staff is his recruiting ability. His experience first started as the recruiting coordinator for Air Force in 2007, but his recruiting expertise has grown during his time at various Power Five schools.
Warren brings his knowledge and experience in multiple parts of the country, but specifically in SEC country. His three most recent jobs at Tennessee, Florida and Georgia all come with an expectation to recruit the south.
Because of this, Warren has established relationships throughout states such as Florida and Georgia, which are known to be some of the best states for high school football. Most recently, Warren coached cornerback CJ Henderson at Florida, who was the ninth pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Warren was also considered the primary recruiter who helped Georgia lock up the talents of five-star cornerback Kelee Ringo from Arizona, who was the No. 4 overall recruit in his class. IU head coach Tom Allen already has deep recruiting ties in the state of Florida, and the addition of Warren should only help expand Indiana’s presence down south.
Another boost for the secondary
Indiana lost safety Jamar Johnson to the 2021 NFL Draft, but returns Marcelino McCray-Ball after he missed all of 2020 with a torn ACL. Because of this, the Hoosiers return a wealth of experienced defensive backs to complete one of the best secondaries in the Big Ten.
Tiawan Mullen, Jaylin Williams and Devon Matthews each earned All-Big Ten honors in 2020 and are back for Indiana next season. The Hoosiers also return Reese Taylor, who had the game-winning deflection in Indiana’s win at Wisconsin.
Brandon Shelby will remain Indiana’s defensive backs coach in 2020, but the like-minded Warren will lead the defensive game plan. Hiring the former defensive backs coach Warren in addition to the established Shelby creates an enhanced focus on the secondary.
Two coaches with a history of success coaching secondary play, coupled with a deep group of returning players on the Indiana secondary, is a recipe for success for the Hoosier defense in 2021.