January 31, 2023

FAYETTEVILLE — University of Arkansas coach Sam Pittman hired Deron Wilson, a former Texas-San Antonio and McNeese State assistant coach, to coach the Razorbacks’ secondary school Tuesday to complete his 10-strong coaching staff.

A New Orleans native, Wilson, 32, spent last season as a defensive cornerback quality control assistant in Florida. Details of Wilson’s deal with the Razorbacks were not known Tuesday.

The younger cousin of LSU associate head coach and running backs coach Frank Wilson, Wilson is a former standout cornerback at Southern Miss, where he started the first 39 games of his career before an ankle injury derailed his 2013 senior season with 171 tackles and eight interceptions with the Golden Eagles, including four interception returns for touchdowns, and was a preseason Jim Thorpe Award watchlist in 2013.

Wilson began coaching as an assistant on Frank Wilson’s team at Texas-San Antonio in 2016 before taking the full-time position of cornerbacks coach in 2018, which he held for two years. He transferred to McNeese State, where he served as defense coordinator in 2020-21 before taking a seat on the staff of first-year Florida coach Billy Napier last year.

The hiring of Wilson rounds out Pittman’s staff after he replaced five assistant coaches this offseason, including coordinators Barry Odom and Kendal Briles. Wilson will replace Dominique Bowman, who is now at Temple, and will work with co-defensive coordinator Marcus Woodson at Arkansas Secondary.

Wilson has ties to at least two Arkansas associates. Current defensive line coach Deke Adams, the only holdover from last year’s defensive staff, was a three-year defensive line coach at Southern Miss (2009-11), which overlaps with Wilson’s first three seasons on campus.

Ben Sowders, a New Arkansas strength and conditioning coach, was an assistant strength and conditioning coach at Southern Miss in 2012-13, his earlier years in the industry matching Wilson’s last two years on the Hattiesburg, Mississippi campus.

Sowders has likely worked fairly closely with Wilson, particularly when he was rehabilitating his ankle injury in 2013.

Wilson was working at UTSA on one of the top defensive teams in the nation in 2017 when the Roadrunners led Conference USA in seven statistical categories and were in the FBS top 10 in five categories.

During his sophomore season at Southern Miss in 2011, Wilson was part of a secondary that broke the NCAA record with eight interception returns for touchdowns and won the Conference USA championship.

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