Georgia football: Kirby Smart steals Florida’s defensive backs coach

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Georgia football announced the hiring of Charlton Warren from Florida on Saturday. The Atlanta native will serve as defensive backs coach.

One more domino has fallen in the building of Georgia’s 2019 coaching staff. Journeyman defensive backs coach Charlton Warren has left Florida, returning to north Georgia to fill the same position in Athens.

Don’t let that journeyman tag fool you, Warren is among the best defensive backs coaches in the nation. The only reasons why he’s ever left a school before now is turnover. He’s coached under two fired head coaches, and one defensive coördinator who resigned.

His first big break came with Nebraska in 2014 when the Cornhuskers had one of the best pass defenses in the nation. They ranked no. 2 nationally in completion percentage at a mere 48.5. They also ranked no. 13 with 6.1 yards per attempt.

When Nebraska fired head coach Bo Pelini after that season, they emptied the entire coaching staff, but Warren quickly moved to North Carolina. He spent two years with the Tar Heels and their defenses never averaged more than 190 passing yards per game. In 2015, the Tar Heels intercepted 17 passes. After he and defensive coördinator Chizik left North Carolina, their defense went straight downhill.

When Chizik left North Carolina, Warren didn’t stick around either, instead he went to Tennessee for the 2017 season and transformed their pass defense into one of the best in the SEC. The Volunteers only allowed 162 passing yards per game that season. But the firing of Butch Jones left Warren without a job again. Predictably though, he didn’t wait long for a new opportunity because he joined Dan Mullen’s first staff at Florida this past year. The Gators allowed a tick over 180 passing yards per game and only 6.2 yards per attempt.

With loads of potential in Georgia’s defensive backfield in both starters and recent recruits, Warren appears to be the best guy to tap into the potential of that group. The defenses he coaches on always seem to show drastic improvement immediately. Though the defense he joins at Georgia is by far the best of his career, it’s exciting to see what kind of improvements he can make. Maybe even helping J.R. Reed work on his coverage enough to become a high draft pick in 2020.

Warren’s hiring isn’t just a big deal for player development, he also boosts recruiting. Two four-star defensive backs have already signed with Florida’s 2019 recruiting class. A third appeared set to join the Gators next month during National Signing Day in cornerback Kaiir Elam. But Warren’s move to Athens might sway Elam towards the Bulldogs. Elam also visited the University of Georgia on Friday. He’s ranked no. 49 overall by 247Sports Composite and no. 7 out of all cornerbacks.

At Nebraska, Warren recruited cornerback Eric Lee (no. 126 player, no. 18 CB) the best player in the Cornhuskers 2015 class. He brought four-star Tre Shaw to North Carolina in the 2017 class after the Tar Heels failed to sign any four-star players the year prior.

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Warren’s hiring means there’s only one spot left to fill, defensive coördinator. But given everything that’s known about the situation, Glenn Schumann and Dan Lanning are more than likely being promoted to co-defensive coordinators. Lanning turned down Mel Tucker’s offer to become his DC at Colorado. Schumann and Kirby Smart are very close. In fact, Schumann played a huge role under Smart at Alabama. Schumann coaches from the booth, while Lanning stalks the sidelines. With the right guy filling defensive backs duties, all the Bulldog Nation is waiting on is the final announcement about Schumann and Lanning.