FAYETTEVILLE — Bruce Feldman reported Friday evening that Tulane’s Chris Hampton has emerged as a serious candidate for the defensive coordinator job at Arkansas.

Arkansas has an opening with Barry Odom, who held that job for each of the first three years Sam Pittman has been head coach, left to lead to the UNLV program. No. 16 Tulane is 11-2 this season and headed to the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic on Monday, Jan. 2, to face No. 10 USC. Feldman had the following tweet.

“Hearing Tulane DC Chris Hampton has emerged as a strong candidate for the Arkansas defensive coordinator job. Hampton has made a big impact in a league championship season, and led the nation’s No. 15 defense and No. 2 in the AAC; and it’s No. 1 in 3rd down D in the league.”

Hampton has been at Tulane six years and this is second to coordinate the defense. Tulane recently defeated UCF 45-28 in the American Athletic Conference championship game. Hampton coaches defensive backs and spent the 2020 season at Duke before returning to Tulane. Pittman talked about the defensive coordinator hire today when he met with the media.

“The defensive coordinator hire, we’re closing in on that,” Pittman said. “I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do as far as announcing that. I think I’m weighing our program and possibilities of hurting our recruiting versus hurting some other university’s recruiting. It is so close to signing day. So, I’m closing in on that. I just don’t know when I’m comfortable making a decision as far as when to announce that. Again, I’m weighing a lot of things for our university and our players first and foremost, and others as well. I think that’s where we’re at right now.”

While Feldman has Hampton’s defense at No. 15 nationally, that may have been prior to the league title game. The statistics at College Football Team Defense shows them at No. 26. Tulane allowed 20.5 points and 342.4 yards of total offense each game.

By comparison, Arkansas was No. 90 defensively at the same site. Baylor and Ron Roberts were No. 65. Even though he wasn’t ever approached about the job at Arkansas despite erroneous reports stating otherwise, Maryland’s Brian Williams’ defense came in at No. 48.

Hampton played college football at South Carolina where he lettered for four years and started two at safety. But he has ties to the state of Arkansas. Hampton began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Arkansas State in 2008 and followed that up with two seasons as a graduate assistant at Georgia Tech (2009-10). He then spent one season as the safeties coach at Central Arkansas (2011) before joining the McNeese State staff.