Northwestern is hiring Las Vegas Raiders defensive backs coach Jim O'Neil as defensive coordinator, sources told ESPN.
The 42-year-old O'Neil worked alongside Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald as defensive assistants in 2003 and 2004 under then-coach Randy Walker. He also spent three seasons at Eastern Michigan working under Jeff Genyk, now Northwestern's special-teams coordinator.
In 2020, Northwestern ranked fifth nationally in points allowed (15.9 ppg), 11th in yards per play allowed (4.86 ypp) and led the nation in red-zone touchdown percentage allowed (29.6%). The defense propelled Northwestern to its second Big Ten West Division title in three years and a No. 10 finish in the final polls.