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Florida State taps Harlon Barnett as new defensive coordinator

Michigan State co-defensive coordinator leaves alma mater to join Willie Taggart

Harlon Barnett has been an assistant coach at Michigan State since 2007.
Harlon Barnett has been an assistant coach at Michigan State since 2007. (Brandon Wade/AP Photo)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Michigan State defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett is reportedly leaving his alma mater to take the same position under new Florida State head coach Willie Taggart.

Fox Sports writer Bruce Feldman was the first to report the hiring, citing a source.

Barnett has spent the last 11 seasons as an assistant coach for the Spartans, including the last three as co-defensive coordinator. 

The 51-year-old Ohio native has worked for Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio since 2004, when he was hired at Cincinnati.

Under Barnett, the Spartans had the nation's seventh-ranked total defense, allowing 297.6 yards per game. 

Barnett coached defensive backs before taking on the added role of co-defensive coordinator in 2015. The Spartans were also ranked No. 17 in passing efficiency defense.

Taggart, who was hired Dec. 5, is assembling his coaching staff. 

Odell Haggins, who served as interim coach for the Seminoles after Jimbo Fisher left for Texas A&M, will return to coach defensive tackles.


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