Charlie Harbison leaves Clemson for Auburn's staff

Defensive backs coach Charlie Harbison

Photo by Mark Crammer

Defensive backs coach Charlie Harbison

— Dabo Swinney is in the market for a secondary coach.

TigerIllustrated.com reported Saturday night that recruit Adrian Baker, making an official visit to Clemson’s campus, said secondary coach and co-defensive coordinator Charlie Harbison has accepted a similar position at Auburn.

Harbison was one of the first coaches hired by Swinney when he was hired as the full-time coach in December 2008. He just finished his fourth season on Clemson’s staff. He has ties to new Auburn defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson – the two worked together at Alabama in 2000 and at Mississippi State in 2007.

This was Harbison’s second stint at Clemson. He also served as the Tigers’ secondary coach from 1995-97. He also spent two stints at Alabama for a total of seven years, served as LSU’s defensive backs coach from 2001-02, and was Mississippi State’s defensive coordinator in 2007-08.

The Tigers’ pass defense stats have slipped under Harbison’s watch. With NFL-level talents like Marcus Gilchrist and DeAndre McDaniel on hand, Clemson was seventh nationally in pass defense in 2009, allowing 162.8 yards per game.

In 2010, Clemson slipped to 22nd, allowing 191.8 yards per game. A year ago, those numbers eroded further; 217.5 yards per game, 50th nationally.

This season, the Tigers were 82nd, allowing 250.3 yards per game with a secondary wracked by season-ending injuries to cornerbacks Martin Jenkins and Darius Robinson.

When asked about Harbison’s potential departure Friday, Swinney said, “I anticipate all of our staff being here. From time to time, if change happens, with the program we’ve built, we’ve put one in place that will respond appropriately and attract great coaches.”

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Comments » 5

Lynx26 writes:

hope he doesn't take any recruits with him... #Holla

Xander5000 writes:

Well people looks like our program must have done something right these past two seasons. We got other college program's football staff poking around trying to break up our core. They all know we are building something special here at CLEMSON/ACC and they don't want to see it happen in my opinion. Harbison is gone and now the continuous invasions from other schools like Texas Tech to look at Morris and Venables. Both are affiliated with the state of Texas. I hope whatever backup plan Dabo has will rise and raise up Clemson 10 times over than what we have now. All this potential newness could damage our core by having to rebuild prematurely, sway even more recruits to limbo or somewhere else because the recruiter that the recruits have developed good relationships with to get them highly interested in Clemson may be gone. Even though Clemson sells itself we are looking like we are so incomplete or taking too many steps backwards in between these several weeks. If indeed we can get a Brian Dawkins to replace Harbison that would be a great start to repairing a core that was growing and becoming solid.

Bigboots writes:

Dawkins would be great. Or if Jason Sehorn is interested in coaching, no doubt about it.

BigBud52 writes:

Well if he coaches at Auburn like he did at Clemson, everyone in the country will soon know you can throw on Auburn.

TRUETIGER1 writes:

I don't think we'll miss him. Not a real good sign when no one is after the head coach. I would love to see Dawkins on the side line, but I think he would be too big of a name for us to hire.

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