Rebel linebackers coach leaves for Kentucky

Published 10:53 am Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Just one day after the hire of Tyrone Nix to coach outside linebackers, Ole Miss linebackers coach Jon Sumrall is leaving to take the same position at his alma mater, Kentucky. It’s unknown if the hire of Nix was related to the Rebels knowing they were going to lose Sumrall.

Sumrall was a three-year letterman at Kentucky, graduating in 2005. He arrived in Oxford this time last year, coming from Tulane and Troy where he had spent three years working with linebackers on nationally-ranked defenses. Sumrall spent just one year at Ole Miss before jumping to Kentucky.

A handful of advanced metrics had the Ole Miss defense among the worst teams in football this past year. FEI rated Ole Miss’ defense 102 in the country while S&P+ ranked them No. 90. There’s only 130 eligible programs.

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In fairness to the defensive staff, it was a roster lacking talent and depth at a handful of positions, linebackers included. NCAA sanctions had limited recruiting and scholarships, but also the staff had just done a poor job recruiting with what they had on that side of the ball.

When Troy won 11 games in 2017 with Sumrall coaching linebackers. They ranked first in the nation in red zone defense and No. 24 in total yards per game. in 2013, while coaching defensive line at Tulane, the team was No. 13 nationally in sacks and No. 22 in yards allowed. He would be named a finalist that year for FootballScoop Defensive Line Coach of the Year.

Former Kentucky defensive coordinator Matt House left the school earlier this month for the Kansas City Chiefs. The Wildcats stayed in-house, hiring outside linebackers coach Brad White to be their next defensive coordinator. He will reportedly continue to coach outside linebackers while Sumrall’s main focus with the defense will be on the inside linebackers.