Who is Austin Armstrong? Alabama’s new defensive coach

A public announcement should be made soon about the latest hiring of the Alabama Football defensive coach, but social media is giving the impression that we’ve struck a deal.

Sources confirmed to Touchdown Alabama Magazine that Austin Armstrong would be a defensive position coach on Nick Saban’s staff. Several reports later came about him being expected to join the Crimson Tide. He’s now on campus helping with recruiting, and his Twitter profile photo has the “A” logo scripted on it. Armstrong comes as a young, innovative defense coordinator from the University of Southern Mississippi.

He will coach inside linebackers for The Tide after successfully improving position at Southern Miss. Armstrong played linebacker for Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Ala., for four years. After his time with the Hawks and his bachelor’s degree in 2014, he began his coaching career in 2016 as an assistant defensive linemen in Division II West Georgia.

In 2017 and 2018, he began his career as a coach during two years as a defensive graduate assistant for the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns.

Armstrong helped former Saban assistant Billy Napier guide Louisiana to a share of the Sun Belt West division title in 2018.

The Ragin’ Cajuns made it to the Sun Belt Championship Game in Napier’s freshman season. Armstrong assisted the team to a berth at the AutoNation Cure Bowl in Orlando, Florida. He decided to learn from another former Saban assistant in 2019 when Armstrong brought his talents to the University of Georgia and learned from Kirby Smart as a defensive quality control coach.

He helped Smart’s group field three shutouts that year as the Bulldogs allowed 12.6 points per game. Georgia finished the season 12-2 and won the Allstate Sugar Bowl 26-14 over Baylor. He returned to the Ragin’ Cajuns in 2020, helping them to a 10-1 season in a COVID-shortened year. The Louisiana defense forced seven fumbles and had 16 interceptions, including four by safety Bralen Trahan. Armstrong has spent the last two years defending Southern Miss’s “Nasty Bunch.” He quickly transformed the program into an impressive group. Santrell Latham, Hayes Maples, Daylen Gill, and Averie Habas all benefited from Armstrong as linebackers. The Golden Eagles finished in the top five for sacks nationally in 2022 (44). He has learned from Smart, Dan Lanning, Glenn Schumann and Napier. Three of his four teachers are from the Saban coaching tree.

Alabama could be in good hands with the fast-rising Armstrong.

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Stephen M. Smith is the senior editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can “like” him. Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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