MEMPHIS, TENN. --- University of Memphis head football coach Larry Porter announced today that Michigan assistant coach Jay Hopson will be recommended as the Tigers' defensive coordinator to the Tennessee Board of Regents.
Hopson recently completed his second season at Michigan, where he served as the linebackers coach. Under Hopson, three of the top five tacklers for the 2009 season were linebackers Stevie Brown, Obi Ezeh and Jonas Mouton. Ezeh was a semifinalist this season for the Butkus Award, presented to the nation's top linebacker.
No stranger to Conference USA, Hopson has had two stints with the defense at Southern Miss. Prior to arriving at Michigan, he spent three seasons as defensive coordinator, defensive backs and middle linebackers coach at Southern Miss from 2005-07. In 2007, he was named the All-American Football Foundation Top Assistant Coach. The Golden Eagles participated in three bowl games while Hopson was the defensive coordinator: the 2005 New Orleans Bowl, the 2006 GMAC Bowl and the 2007 Papajohns.com Bowl.
As a coordinator, Hopson's defensive units led Conference USA in scoring defense each of his three seasons. In 2006, the Golden Eagles led C-USA in third down defense and red zone defense. The 2005 defense led the league in turnovers forced per game and led the nation in fumbles gained.
Prior to his appointment as defensive coordinator, Hopson coached the defensive backs for the Golden Eagles from 2001-03. In 2002, his unit led the nation in fewest passing touchdowns allowed and finished fourth nationally in pass efficiency defense. Southern Miss led C-USA and finished fifth nationally in pass defense during the 2003 season. Each year of his tenure, USM ranked in the top 15 nationally in scoring defense. The Golden Eagles participated in the Houston Bowl in 2002 and won Conference USA in 2003, which sent Southern Miss to Memphis, Tenn., for the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.
A native of Vicksburg, Miss., Hopson worked the 2004 campaign at his alma mater, Ole Miss, as the defensive backs coach and was the program's recruiting coordinator before returning to Hattiesburg for his second stint at USM – his first as a coordinator. The Rebels' pass defense improved from 109th nationally in 2003 to 49th during the 2004 campaign.
Hopson's coaching resume also includes positions at Marshall University (1996-2000) and Delta State (1993) as defensive backs coach. He was a member of the Herds' 1996 NCAA I-AA National Championship staff and coached the team to four straight Mid-American Conference championships. Marshall also participated in the Motor City Bowl four straight seasons from 1997-2000. He has also held defensive graduate assistant positions at the University of Florida (1995), Louisiana State (1994) and Tulane (1992). He helped the Gators to the Southeastern Conference championship and played for the national championship in the Fiesta Bowl.
Hopson has coached numerous all-conference players and three All-Americans. Two of his players have been nominated for the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation's top defensive back, and two of his players were named to Sports Illustrated's All-Bowl Team.
A four-year letterman at Ole Miss, Hopson received the 1991 John Howard Vaught Award as a defensive back. A CoSIDA Academic All-American, Hopson graduated from Ole Miss with a bachelor's degree in business administration (1992), and received a master's of health in physical education and recreation from Delta State (1994).