James Willis leaving UL-Lafayette for Florida State

LAFAYETTE — Louisiana-Lafayette defensive coordinator James Willis, who helped lead the Cajuns to the Sun Belt Conference title this past season, resigned to accept a coaching position at Florida State, head coach Mark Hudspeth confirmed Wednesday night.

“I want to thank James for the year that he spent working with the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns,” Hudspeth said. “I appreciate the professionalism that he brought to the position and the hard work he put in to help the team accomplish their goals. I wish him well.”

Hudspeth said Willis will become linebackers coach for the national champion Seminoles.

In his lone season with the Cajuns, Willis oversaw a defense that improved from eighth in the Sun Belt in total defense in 2012 to third in 2013. Willis came to the Cajuns after previously coaching at Texas Tech, Alabama and Auburn.

Charles Kelly will be Florida State defensive coordinator, FSU coach Jimbo Fisher confirmed.

The former linebackers coach got the promotion after Jeremy Pruitt left to take the same position at Georgia. Kelly will be in charge of the secondary, which Pruitt also coached.

Kelly joined the Florida State staff in 2013 after coaching defensive backs for the last three of his seven years at Georgia Tech. The 46-year-old had stints as defensive coordinator at Jacksonville State, Henderson State and Nicholls State.