Former USC all-time great Chris Claiborne has been named Arizona State’s new linebackers coach.
Claiborne, a 1998 All-American and USC’s only Butkus Award winner in program history at linebacker, comes to ASU after serving with his alma mater as a quality control analyst.
“I’m just excited for this opportunity. I have played the position for a long time and I look forward to contributing to the growth of these young men and helping them reach their potential,” Claiborne said in a release from Sun Devil Athletics. “Just to be in the atmosphere with this coaching staff is a blessing. With coaches like Herm Edwards, Marvin Lewis, Antonio Pierce and Shawn Slocum in the room, it is an incredible environment for a young and new coach. It will be a great opportunity and it is important for me to always be growing and be learning constantly.”
Prior to his USC stop, Claiborne was previously the head coach at Calabasas High School in Los Angeles, where he went 17-6 in two seasons. At the school, he coached current Sun Devil wide receiver Johnny Wilson.
In addition to Calabasas, Claiborne also had stops as an assistant coach at other Southern California high school football powerhouses such as Corona, Oaks Christian, and Long Beach Poly (where defensive coordinator Antonio Pierce previously coached).
The move makes sense for a variety of reasons, including Claiborne’s ties to the Southern California area and how the Sun Devil coaching staff has put an emphasis on recruiting the Los Angeles region.
Claiborne was also one of the best linebackers in USC history and played eight seasons in the NFL, including being picked ninth overall by the Detroit Lions in the 1999 NFL Draft.
He rounds out the ASU defensive coaching staff under Antonio Pierce, who was promoted to the team’s lone defensive coordinator earlier this month while Marvin Lewis returned to his special advisor role.
The rest of the staff includes defensive line coach Robert Rodriguez and defensive backs coach Chris Hawkins.
“I am very pleased to announce the completion of my full-time coaching staff with linebacker coach Chris Claiborne. Chris impressed us with his passion for the game of football, for coaching young men and for recruiting at an elite level,” said head coach Herm Edwards. “Chris will be able to relate to the young men on our team and to recruits nationwide. I’ve always been a proponent of giving young coaches an opportunity and preparing them for success in their professional careers. Chris is out of the same mold as the other young coaches on my staff like Prentice Gill, Chris Hawkins and Adam Breneman. I hope all Sun Devil fans will join me in welcoming Chris to the NFL Model.”