Penn State's secondary struggles

Iowa running back Tyler Goodson, left, pushes Penn State safety Jaquan Brisker on a run during the first quarter of Saturday’s game in State College.

STATE COLLEGE – Penn State is in the market for a new co-defensive coordinator/safeties coach. The University of Tennessee on Monday announced Tim Banks as its new defensive coordinator.

"Tim brings great energy, passion and experience to the Tennessee football family," Tennessee coach Josh Heupel said in a statement. "His defenses are known for their aggressive style, as well as their multiple coverages and fronts. He's coached in big games and has a proven track record of success on the field and in recruiting. I know our student-athletes are going to enjoy playing for him. We are fortunate to have someone with Tim's experience and caliber leading our defense." 

Huepel was hired late last month after Tennessee fired Jeremy Pruitt.

Banks joined the Nittany Lions’ coaching staff five years ago following a four-year stop at Illinois where he held the title of co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach. Penn State in 2020 had the Big Ten’s second-ranked pass defense after yielding 198.6 yards passing per game.

The Detroit native established himself as one of Penn State’s most valuable recruiters, as well, as he helped the Nittany Lions land four class of 2021 signees from Michigan.

The Nittany Lions signed the Detroit sibling duo of Kalen (cornerback) and Kobe (linebacker) King along with fellow Detroit standout Jaylen Reed (safety). Belleville, Michigan’s Jamari Buddin (linebacker) also signed with the Nittany Lions as part of the class.

“I try to figure out how I can help you be your best version of yourself that you can possibly be,” Banks said of his role as a coach last season. “I think that resonates with most people. I love my guys, I truly love what I do, and hopefully, those guys can feel that. Because at the end of the day, for me, personally, it’s not just about football. It’s about helping to develop these guys not just as players, but as young men.”

Banks is the third assistant to depart the program this offseason. Penn State in January parted ways with one-year offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca. Earlier this month, Penn State tight ends coach Tyler Bowen was hired in the same capacity with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.   

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