The Smith family will make a significant stamp on Illinois' 2019 defense.
Coach Lovie Smith announced Wednesday he will remain the Illini's defensive coordinator after taking on the dual roles last season following Hardy Nickerson's resignation in late October. And he announced his son Miles Smith will be promoted to a full-time on-field assistant as linebackers coach.
Lovie Smith also announced the hiring of former Florida Atlantic assistant Keynodo Hudson as cornerbacks coach.
"I feel great about where we are with our defensive staff," Smith said in a statement. "Keynodo and Miles both bring terrific energy and enthusiasm to our program.
"(Hudson) will be an outstanding addition to the defensive backs room. He adds to our strong contacts in the state of Florida and is a fast-rising coach in the profession. Miles proved himself on the practice field and in the meeting room last fall and has earned the opportunity for this permanent position."
Miles Smith joined the coaching staff last year as a graduate assistant, then spent the 2018 season filling in as cornerbacks coach after Donnie Abraham resigned in August. Lovie Smith said Wednesday that Miles was responsible for recruiting linebacker Tarique Barnes, one of two 2019 prospects Illinois added on national signing day.
Lovie Smith said his son's lack of a long coaching resume shouldn't be a deterrent.
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"I hire the best coaches to help us win -- period," he said. "You don't have to have a lot of experience to be a good football coach."
As for his own role, Lovie Smith said he has seen more defensive-minded coaches take on the coordinator job like offensive coaches often do.
"The best chance for us to be successful is for me to move into that role," Smith said at a news conference in Champaign. "I'm pretty excited about it."
Illinois finished last in the Big Ten last season in scoring defense (39.4 points allowed per game) and total defense (508.3 yards per game).
Before coaching at FAU the last two seasons, Hudson spent six seasons at USC as a defensive administrative assistant. The Tampa native and former high school coach in Daytona Beach brings the Illini potentially beneficial ties to Florida recruiting.
Illinois has one assistant coaching position to fill after running backs coach Thad Ward left to join Temple's staff.