Washington defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox is expected to be named USC's new DC after the Huskies play in the Fight Hunger Bowl Friday night, a source told CBS. Wilcox will re-unite in Los Angeles with new Trojans head coach Steve Sarkisian and several other former U-Dub staffers who have made the transition over to USC.
Wilcox replaces Clancy Pendergast, who brought in a 5-2 scheme in 2013 and transformed what had been a shaky Trojans D the previous season into one of the best defenses on the West Coast despite having virtually no depth. USC went from ranking seventh in the Pac-12 in total defense (433 ypg allowed) all the way up to No. 1 this season (335 ypg allowed).
The 37-year-old Wilcox has put together an impressive resume as a DC. He first became a defensive coordinator at Boise State in 2006, where his Broncos squad led the WAC in defense all four seasons he ran the defense there (2006-09). BSU's record in those four seasons was 49-4. In 2011, Wilcox sparked a Tennessee defense that ranked No. 28 in the nation in total defense (340.5 yards per game) and 35th in scoring defense. The following season, after Wilcox left Knoxville for UW, the Vols D fell apart, dropping to No. 107 in total defense and No. 104 in scoring defense. Meanwhile, the Huskies, who were No. 108 in scoring D and No. 106 in total defense the season before Wilcox took over in Seattle, improved to No. 39 in scoring defense and No. 31 in total defense. This season, Washington ranks No. 34 in scoring defense and No. 49 in total defense.
Wilcox was also the coach who found and sold the BSU staff on unheralded, undersized QB Kellen Moore, who blossomed into one of the top college quarterbacks of his era.
A former first-team Academic All-Pac-10 DB at Oregon in the late 90s, Wilcox is the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Dave Wilcox.