USC Football

Justin Wilcox Will Reportedly Join Steve Sarkisian at USC

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Alex SimsCorrespondent IIIDecember 27, 2013

New USC Trojans head coach Steve Sarkisian is wasting no time in making the program his own.

As reported by CBSSports.com's Bruce Feldman, Sarkisian will bring former Washington Huskies defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox to take the same role in Los Angeles. The announcement is expected to be made after UW's tilt with Brigham Young in the Fight Hunger Bowl Friday night.

Wilcox's move has plenty of backstory, as he'll be replacing current defensive boss Clancy Pendergast, who led the Trojans to be the No. 1 total defense in the Pac-12 Conference this season, yielding just 335 yards per game. 

Pendergast was a USC defensive assistant early in his coaching career in 1992. His resume included time as defensive coordinator in the NFL for the Arizona Cardinals and the Kansas City Chiefs, as well as assistant experience with several other franchises.

He then became the defensive coordinator upstate at California. After three seasons in Berkeley, he headed south and transformed USC's defense from the No. 7 total defense in the Pac-12 to the league's best in just one season.

Despite the impressive resume, he will apparently be on his way out as Sarkisian looks to make his own stamp on the program.

His replacement, Wilcox, was the defensive coordinator at Tennessee before joining Sark's staff in Seattle. Prior to that, he was the defensive boss at Boise State under Chris Petersen

Petersen recently replaced Sarkisian at UW, but Wilcox has apparently chosen to follow his boss to Los Angeles, rather than reunite with his old one in Seattle.

As reported by Feldman, Wilcox was also responsible for identifying and recruiting Boise legend Kellen Moore, who ended his career as the NCAA's all-time wins leader as a starting quarterback.

It is an intriguing decision for Sarkisian to dump the Pac-12's top defensive coordinator—and one with NFL experience. On the other hand, it makes sense for the new USC coach to bring in his own coaches as he looks to bring the Trojans back into the national title picture.

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