Cincinnati defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman broke bread with LSU bigwigs on Wednesday night and broke their hearts on Friday.
Freeman dined with LSU athletic director Scott Woodward and associate athletic director Verge Ausberry at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse Wednesday, was reportedly offered 4-year, $2.5 million annual contract on Thursday and then Friday the Ohio native chose to accept an offer to become Notre Dame’s defensive coordinator.
The 34-year old Freeman, who guided a unit that finished 13th nationally in total defense (324.6 yards allowed per game) and 8th in scoring defense (16.8 points per game), was LSU head coach Ed Orgeron’s main target.
Orgeron had also spoken with Derek Mason about the Tigers’ D-coordinator vacancy last week. Mason was hired as Auburn’s new D-coordinator on Thursday.
Mason was fired as Vanderbilt’s head coach and replaced by Notre Dame defensive coordinator Clark Lea, thus creating the vacancy that Freeman is filling.
“The work Marcus has done elevating the programs he has been a part of speaks for itself, but equally as important is the exceptional work he has done in building relationships with his staff and players,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said.
LSU had five coaching vacancies after Orgeron fired defensive coordinator Bo Pelini, safeties coach Bill Busch and passing game coordinator Scott Linehan. Also, offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger and Bill Johnson retired and are now staff analysts.
Orgeron filled two spots on Wednesday when he hired Carolina Panthers quarterbacks coach Jake Peetz and offensive assistant D.J. Mangus as offensive coordinator and passing game coordinator respectively.
Peetz will earn $1.2 million in 2021 and $1.3 million in 2022 while Mangus will be paid $400,000 annually.