Freeze Transcript on the Hiring of Phil Longo and Wesley McGriff
Ole Miss Opens 2015 Season Next Saturday
Kiffin, McGriff, Harris Recognized Nationally For Recruiting Efforts
Kiffin Helped Rebels Reel In Historic Recruiting Class
Rebels Land Top-10 Signing Class
Kiffin has paid huge dividends on the recruiting trail. He was tabbed the 2013 National Recruiter of the Year by Scout.com after helping Ole Miss land a top-five signing class. He was also tabbed one of the nation’s top 50 recruiters by 247Sports and has helped the Rebels land three more top-15 classes since then, including the 2016 haul that ranked as high as No. 4 by ESPN.com.
Kiffin guided another strong defensive line in 2015, which helped the Rebels rank top three among SEC teams in tackles for loss (8.1/game - 7th in NCAA), interceptions (15 - t23rd in NCAA) and takeaways (23 - t38th in NCAA). His prized pupils included Hornung Award finalist and first team All-American Robert Nkemdiche, who was taken in the first round (29th overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. Rebel defensive linemen combined for 24 sacks in 2015, led by a school record-tying 10 from sophomore Marquis Haynes. In two years under Kiffin’s tutelage, Haynes has recorded 17.5 career sacks, tied for the fourth-most in Ole Miss history.
Kiffin helped develop one of the deepest and most talented defensive lines in not only the SEC, but the nation in 2014. Their work in the trenches helped Ole Miss top the nation in scoring defense (16.0) and fewest touchdowns allowed (24), while also leading the SEC in interceptions (22), turnovers forced (32), tackles for loss (7.6/game) and opponent third-down conversion (33.0 percent).
Nkemdiche was a 2014 All-America choice by multiple outlets, as his constant pressure and collapsing the pocket caused havoc for opposing quarterbacks.
Haynes led the team with 9.0 tackles for loss and an Ole Miss freshman record 7.5 sacks, which was fourth-most among all freshmen in the country, en route to Freshman All-America honors.
With Kiffin guiding him, Nkemdiche made a major impact on the defensive line in 2013 by ranking third on the team in tackles for loss (8.0) and second among SEC freshmen in TFLs per outing (0.73). Nkemdiche was named first team Freshman All-America and SEC All-Freshman.
Kiffin helped coach a much-improved Rebel front line in his first year in Oxford. His unit helped Ole Miss rank first in the SEC and fourth nationally in tackles for loss (7.9/game) and second in the SEC and 11th nationally in sacks (2.9/game). Those numbers were dramatic improvements over 4.75 TFLs and 1.08 sacks per game in 2011.
Under Kiffin, defensive end C.J. Johnson saw tremendous improvement from his rookie campaign as he recorded 6.5 sacks, tied for eighth-most in the SEC, versus just one sack in 2011. Nose tackle Issac Gross was named first team Freshman All-America and SEC All-Freshman after he tallied 10.0 TFLs (second-most by an SEC freshman behind teammate Denzel Nkemdiche) and 2.5 sacks.
Kiffin spent the previous season as Arkansas State’s defensive line coach.
He helped coach an ASU defense that led the Sun Belt Conference in total defense (331.46 ypg) and scoring defense (20.77 ppg), ranking in the top 25 in the NCAA in both categories. Arkansas State also led the league and ranked eighth in the nation in tackles for loss (7.62 pg) and tied for 15th in the NCAA in QB sacks (2.69 pg).
In 2011, Kiffin mentored Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year Brandon Joiner, who tied for third in the nation in sacks and 10th in TFLs. He also coached Dorvus Woods to second team all-conference honors.
Kiffin joined the A-State coaching staff after serving as an administrative assistant for the USC defense in 2010. The Trojans finished the year 8-5 with a 28-14 victory over UCLA in Rose Bowl stadium.
Prior to joining the staff at USC, Kiffin was in charge of offensive quality control at Nebraska from Feb. 2008 through Feb. 2010. During his two seasons at Nebraska, the Cornhuskers compiled a 20-8 record and played in two bowl games, including a 33-0 victory over Arizona in the 2009 Holiday Bowl.
Before Nebraska, Kiffin was a quality control intern with the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2006. During his time with the Bucs, Kiffin gained experience working with the defensive line during off-season OTAs and mini-camps.
A four-year football letterman as a defensive tackle at Colorado State from 2000-05 under then-head coach Sonny Lubick, Kiffin earned his bachelor’s degree from the school in 2005. Following his time at Colorado State, he was a student assistant at Idaho during the 2005 and 2006 campaigns.
Kiffin is the younger brother of former Southern Cal head coach and current Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, and son of coaching legend Monte Kiffin.
Chris and his wife, Angela, have four children: daughters, Grace, Taylor and Bella, and son, Christian.
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