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FSU has new defensive coordinator- who is Harlon Barnett?

Florida Football Insiders



Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

FSU and new Coach Willie Taggart have taken their time in finding a new defensive coordinator. And now, most Noes fans want to know: who is Harlon Barnett?

First, Bruce Feldman, SI college football insider, broke the story Friday morning:

Barnett is a former Michigan State defensive back and team captain from the late 1980’s, including playing in the 1988 Rose Bowl with the Spartans.

He was drafted in the fourth round of the 1990 NFL Draft by the Browns and played there for three seasons. He then played two seasons for the Patriots and the Vikings before retiring and moving into coaching.

Barnett, who’s 51 years old, has been at MSU for the last 11 years, first as the defensive backs coach and the last two years as Associate Head Coach and Co-Defensive coordinator under coach Mark Dantonio.

Barnett has coached and mentored three previous All-American defensive backs from the Spartans in Darqueze Dennard, Isaiah Lewis, and most recently, Trae Waynes.

So, he obviously has a track record with a big time program and big time players.

Taggart has been re-tooling the FSU coaching staff, including looking for both defensive and offensive coordinators, since getting the job in early December. He has already promoted defensive line coach Odell Haggins, who coached Florida State to their Independence Bowl win last month over Southern Miss, to associate head coach.

There have also been reports that Taggart is wooing former Noles All American DB and Hall of Famer, Deion Sanders to leave the NFL Network and come coach the secondary. Sanders did not deny the interest in the job, but that rumor has cooled over the last two weeks.

There is apparently no coaching connection for Taggart and Barnett before, now. Barnett was previously, a graduate assistant coach under Nick Saban at LSU in 2003 and the secondary coach at Cincinnati for three seasons.

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