ULL hires Willis as defensive coordinator

LAFAYETTE — James Willis, who served as associate head coach and outside linebackers coach at Alabama in 2009 when the Crimson Tide won the BCS National Championship, has been named defensive coordinator for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Cajuns coach Mark Hudspeth announced Thursday.

The hiring is pending approval by the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors.

A nine-year collegiate coaching veteran, Willis has five years experience working in the Southeastern and Big 12 conferences.

“I believe that coach Willis will bring a renewed sense of energy and intensity to the defense and set the tone for spring ball,” Hudspeth said. “He was highly successful player at both the collegiate and professional levels and has experience coaching at some of the top collegiate programs, including with Nick Saban at Alabama.

“I am excited that he will be here in time to help us get ready for the start of spring football on March 11,” Hudspeth said.

Willis also served as defensive coordinator at Texas Tech in 2010 and spent the 2006-08 seasons as the linebackers coach at Auburn.

Willis was a three-year starter at Auburn (1990-92) and recorded 344 career tackles.

Southeastern Louisiana

COACHING CLINIC SET: In Hammond, Southeastern Louisiana University football coach Ron Roberts and his coaching staff will hold their 2013 Coaching Clinic on March 22-23 on the SLU campus.

Cost for the event is $30 (registering by March 21) or $40 (registering after March 22-23). Interested coaches can register on-line at www.RonRobertsFootballCamps.com.

The clinic begins on Friday with a social event at 7 p.m. followed by “Offense and Defense Chalk Talks” beginning at 8. The event continues on Saturday with Roberts addressing the group at 10 a.m. before members of the coaching and support staff give presentations.

The event will conclude at 5 p.m. before the annual Green and Gold Spring Game at 6 p.m.

For more information, contact the Southeastern football office at (985) 549-5550 or (985) 549-2253.

Signings

TEXAS SOUTHERN: Brusly High quarterback Jay Christophe signed with Texas Southern on Thursday afternoon, according to BHS coach Erik Willis.

Christophe, the Class 3A offensive MVP and an All-Metro selection, is a one of three area players to sign with Houston-based Texas Southern. Scotlandville receiver Larry Clark and McKinley lineman Shaun Tolbert also are TSU signees.

GRAMBLING: The Tigers added offensive lineman Malcolm O’Dear of Navarro College and defensive end Rodregous Stevens of Erie Community College to their signing class.

Arkansas

RB COLLINS SIGNS: In Fayetteville, Ark., Arkansas coach Bret Bielema announced Florida running back Alex Collins as the 23rd member of his first signing class with the Razorbacks.

The 5-foot-11, 207-pound Collins was listed as the No. 13 running back in the country by Rivals.com. He verbally committed to Arkansas on Monday night before canceling a Wednesday news conference at which he was expected to sign.

Collins did sign Thursday morning, choosing the Razorbacks over Miami, Florida State, Florida and Wisconsin. He’s the second running back in Arkansas’ recruiting class, which Rivals.com ranked as No. 26 in the country.

He’s also the fourth signee for the Razorbacks from Florida, a recruiting hotbed for Bielema while he was at Wisconsin.