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Recruiting Area: Fort Worth, Arlington
Veteran coach Clayton Carlin joined the Sam Houston State staff prior to the 2016 season and after just one year was promoted to defensive coordinator. The 2019 season will be his third year directing the Bearkat defense.
The Kats defense saw a big step forward in his second year at the helm, ranking in the top three in the nation in sacks and second in the country in tackles per loss in 2018. That season defensive end Derick Roberson led all of FCS in sacks on his way to being named a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award as the top defensive player in the nation.
After spending four seasons at Coastal Carolina serving as defensive coordinator, working with defensive backs, Clayton Carlin joins the Sam Houston State football program to serve as defensive backs coach entering the 2016 season.
While with the Chanticleers, Carlin led a defense that improved from six interceptions in 2011 to 14 in 2012. The Philadelphia native tutored the Big South Defensive Player of the Year during two consecutive seasons as well as the league’s top two pass-breakup players in 2013.
In 2015, Coastal ranked 21st nationally in scoring defense, giving up 20.1 points per game. The program set a school record with two shutouts in one season – 55-0 over Alabama A&M and 46-0 over Garner Webb. During his tenure, the squad made four consecutive playoff appearances, winning a share of three Big South championships and held a No. 1 national ranking in the FCS Coaches Poll.
During the 2013 season, Coastal Carolina set a school record with 62 pass breakups and 13 interceptions. The unit ranked 45th in the FCS in red zone defense, helped by three blocked field goals, four turnovers on downs and four interceptions.
With a bulk of the Chanticleers returning for Carlin’s third season, the Coastal defense ranked 13th in scoring defense – up for 81st the previous year – and 26th in pass efficiency defense. The team also moved up 55 spots in third down conversion defense including holding South Carolina State, Florida A&M and Elon to three points or less in three consecutive games.
Prior to Coastal, Carlin spend two seasons at Bucknell as defensive coordinator. In 2010, he coached the linebackers and in 2011 was promoted to assistant head coach, shifting his focus to the secondary.
In his second year at Bucknell, the Bison defense ranked third in the NCAA in rush defense, allowing just 78.27 rushing yards per game, while leading the Patriot League and ranking 12th in total defense. The unit also ranked 15th in scoring defense.
During his inaugural year with Bucknell, the program led the nation in turnover margin, forcing 22 interceptions and recording 17 fumbles. Carlin spent the previous six years at Cornell where he served two stints at defensive coordinator, spanning four seasons.
In his first year, the Big Red finished seventh nationally in rush defense and 13th nationally in scoring defense (18.1 ppg). He also spent time as the program’s offensive coordinator during the stint in which Cornell ranked 10th nationally in rushing (2005) and averaged better than 27 points per game, the best in 50 years at the program.
Carlin got his start at the Division I level as a graduate assistant at Nebraska under legendary coach Tom Osborne from 1994-96. During that time, the Cornhuskers went 36-2 and won two national titles. It also led to opportunities with New Mexico State, where he spent two stints, mixed in with one year at Villanova and two at Buffalo.
Carlin and his wife, Kathleen, have six children, including daughters Carsen and Julia; and sons, Clayton, Brady, Cole and Conner. Carlin received his bachelor’s degree from Juniata College in 1987 and received his master’s in educational administration from Nebraska.