FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman has named Marcus Woodson the Razorbacks’ co-Defensive Coordinator.
Woodson heads to Arkansas after spending the last three seasons at Florida State as the Seminoles’ defensive backs coach and defensive passing game coordinator. This past season, Woodson’s secondary helped lead the Noles to a 10-win campaign capped by a Cheez-It Bowl victory. Florida State’s secondary was one of the nation’s best in 2022 leading the way to help FSU rank fourth in the FBS allowing 165.4 yards per game to lead the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Woodson helped mold safety Jammie Robinson into a two-time, first-team All-ACC performer. In 2022, Robinson led Florida State in tackles with 99, including five tackles for loss. He led the Noles in tackles in 2021 with 84 to go along with an ACC-best four interceptions.
Robinson is set to join Woodson’s group of defensive backs to be selected in the NFL Draft. Woodson has had six DBs picked over the last three NFL Drafts, including 2020 first-round selection Noah Igbinoghene. Igbinoghene was the 30th overall pick by the Miami Dolphins after Woodson coached him through a transition from wide receiver to defensive back upon his arrival at Auburn in 2018.
Florida State had eight different defenders grab at least one interception and forced 20 total takeaways in 2021. FSU picked off at least one pass in eight straight games to end the season, the longest active streak in America entering the 2022 season and tied for the longest streak in the country at any point during the 2021 season.
During the 2020 season, Florida State’s defensive backfield was responsible for 10 takeaways and added four forced fumbles. Woodson helped continue the development of first-team All-ACC selection Asante Samuel Jr. into one of the nation’s premiere defensive backs. Samuel finished the season leading all active ACC defenders with 29 career pass breakups before being selected in the second-round of the NFL Draft pick by the Los Angeles Chargers. In records dating back to 2000, he was only the second FBS defender to grab three interceptions and have two fumble recoveries in his team’s first four games of a season. Samuel also became the first FSU defender since 2016 with at least one takeaway in four straight games and only the third Seminole since 2000 with three interceptions and two fumble recoveries in a season.
Prior to Florida State, Woodson helped Auburn win 17 games in two seasons (2018-19) while working alongside Arkansas’ new defensive coordinator Travis Williams. In 2019 with Woods as the defensive backs coach and Williams serving as co-defensive coordinator, the Tigers won nine games and advanced to the Outback Bowl behind a defense that ranked eighth nationally in third-down defense and red zone defense, allowing conversions on just 29.9% of third-down attempts and 71.8% of red zone trips. Safety Jeremiah Dinson earned second-team All-SEC honors after posting averaging 7.3 tackles per game to go along with a pair of interceptions
The Tigers returned three interceptions for touchdowns in 2018, the ninth-highest total in the nation, and ranked 14th in the country in scoring defense by allowing 19.2 points per game. Auburn’s nine rushing touchdowns allowed were the second-lowest total in the SEC and tied for the fifth-lowest total in the FBS. The defense’s 38 sacks were good for 16th nationally with the team’s 96 tackles for loss coming in at No. 20. The Tigers’ defense capped the season with a 63-14 victory over Purdue, the fewest points allowed in a Music City Bowl since 2009.
Woodson headed to The Plains after two seasons at Memphis coaching the Tigers’ defensive backs. Memphis won 18 games over the two seasons, forcing a combined 60 takeaways, the second-highest total in the nation during that span. The Tigers picked off 32 passes in Woodson’s two seasons and were one of only six teams in the country to record at least 16 interceptions in both 2016 and 2017.
In 2017, Woodson coached T.J. Carter to Freshman All-America honors from ESPN and USA Today. Carter also was the American Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year after breaking Memphis’ freshman record with five interceptions. In only his second collegiate game, Carter ended a fourth-quarter UCLA drive in the red zone with an interception of Josh Rosen to help secure Memphis’ 48-45 victory.
Prior to joining the Memphis staff, Woodson coached defensive backs at Fresno State for two seasons (2014-15). He helped lead the Bulldogs to the 2014 Mountain West Conference Championship Game and a berth in the Hawai’i Bowl. Safety Derron Smith earned first-team All-Mountain West Conference accolades before being drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. The 2015 Bulldogs’ 11 fumble recoveries to rank second in the conference and 20th nationally.
From 2009-13, Woodson coached defensive backs and was the recruiting coordinator at Charleston Southern, tutoring five all-conference defensive backs. He also added defensive passing game coordinator duties for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Charleston Southern finished the 2013 season with a school-record 10 wins and were ranked No. 22 in the final FCS poll.
Woodson began his coaching career at Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss., where he was the defensive backs coach (2005-08). The Majors won three consecutive SCAC championships, including an 11-1 record and No. 12 final ranking in 2008. Woodson coached four all-conference defensive backs while at Millsaps.
Woodson played safety at Ole Miss, starting for two seasons before his playing career was cut short by an injury prior to his senior season. The Rebels advanced to four bowl games, including the Cotton Bowl, the Music City Bowl and two trips to the Independence Bowl during his career. He went to Ole Miss after helping lead Moss Point High School to two Mississippi state titles.
A native of Moss Point, Miss., Woodson earned his bachelor’s degree in political science with an emphasis in criminal justice from Ole Miss in 2003 and was selected for the Senior Leadership Unity Council.
Woodson and his wife, Chastity, who holds a bachelor’s degree from Loyola University New Orleans and a master’s degree from Howard University, have two sons, Carter and Bryce.
The Marcus Woodson File
College: Ole Miss, 2003 B.S. Political Science
Family: Wife – Chastity; Sons – Carter and Bryce
2005-08 Millsaps College (Defensive Backs)
2009-11 Charleston Southern (Defensive Backs/Recruiting Coordinator)
2012-13 Charleston Southern (Defensive Backs/Defensive Passing Game Coordinator/Recruiting Coordinator)
2014-15 Fresno State (Defensive Backs)
2016-17 Memphis (Defensive Backs)
2018 Auburn (Defensive Backs)
2019 Auburn (Defensive Backs/Recruiting Coordinator)
2020-22 Florida State (Defensive Backs/Defensive Passing Game Coordinator)
Ole Miss, 1999-2002