USC hires Rams defensive line coach Eric Henderson as co-defensive coordinator

Defensive line coach Eric Henderson is leaving the Los Angeles Rams to join Lincoln Riley’s staff at USC as the co-defensive coordinator.

Henderson also will be the Trojans’ defensive line coach and run game coordinator under new defensive coordinator D’Anton Lynn, the school announced Monday.

Henderson has been the Rams’ defensive line coach for the past five seasons, developing a close bond with eight-time All-Pro Aaron Donald and his fellow linemen. Henderson also served as Los Angeles’ run game coordinator for the past three seasons.

He spent two years on the Chargers’ coaching staff before joining the Rams in 2019. The former Georgia Tech lineman started his coaching career in college at Georgia Military College, Oklahoma State and UTSA.

Henderson is the fourth prominent veteran coach to join what will be a completely new defensive staff at USC, which went 8-5 last season despite having one of the most productive offenses in the nation.

The Trojans finished 116th in the FBS in total defense, with 432.8 yards allowed per game under coordinator Alex Grinch, who was fired by Riley with two games left in the regular season.

USC hired Lynn, a rising star in coaching with an NFL background, away from archrival UCLA on Dec. 1.

Before adding Henderson, USC also hired North Dakota State head coach Matt Entz to be its assistant head coach and linebackers coach, and it added former University of Houston defensive coordinator Doug Belk to coach defensive backs.

Henderson’s move was announced one day after the Rams were knocked out of the NFL playoffs in a one-point loss to Detroit.

Sean McVay has had high turnover almost annually on his Los Angeles coaching staff through both poachings and firings. His defensive coordinator, Raheem Morris, already has been asked to interview for at least four NFL head coaching jobs.

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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