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Blog: Georgia close to hiring DL coach

Georgia looks like it has found its new defensive line coach at another Southeastern Conference school.

Chris Wilson, who served as defensive coordinator the past two seasons at Mississippi State, is set to replace Rodney Garner.

“Nothing official yet obviously but it’s going in that direction,” Wilson said this morning. “I’m hopeful in the next few days it will all be done.”

Wilson accepted an offer Friday night, ESPN.com first reported.

Wilson said he came to Georgia and visited with the coaching staff, including defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and coach Mark Richt.

“The University of Geogia, since I’ve been coaching, is one of the top five coaches in the country,” Wilson said. “Secondly, coach Richt is one of the best coaches in the business, just all around. I’ve been fortunate to work for some really good guys the last few years and he ranks right up there with them. Just the opportunity to develop some really good young players there.”

Wilson coached the defensive line the past three seasons at Mississippi State. He spent the past two years also as defensive coordinator after being promoted from co-defensive coordinator following the 2010 season when Manny Diaz left to become defensive coordinator at Texas.

Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen gave defensive play-calling duties to co-defensive coordinator Geoff Collins for Tuesday’s Gator Bowl and promoted him to defensive coordinator on Friday. Mississippi State had slipped to 58th in the nation in total defense in 2012 after finishing 35th in 2011.

Georgia said it is not expected to announce a hire before the end of the weekend.  The job opening was posted on the UGA website on Wednesday and the closing date isn’t until Tuesday. Routine background checks are made before an official hire.

Garner left Georgia last month after 15 seasons to join Auburn’s staff.

“You look at the past two years of being in the SEC championship, the opportunity to continue that history the next few years (is appealing),” Wilson said.

Before joining the Mississippi State staff, Wilson coached defensive ends for five seasons at his alma mater, Oklahoma, where he played linebacker from 1988-91 and was named second team Big Eight three times. Wilson was hired at Oklahoma after then Georgia defensive ends coach Jon Fabris accepted the job before returning to the Bulldogs. He was special teams coordinator for the Sooners from 2007-09.

Asked if he talked about a special teams role at Georgia, Wilson said “we visited about it briefly, but there’s nothing that’s been concrete in my role.”

Wilson, a Dallas, Texas native, was also defensive line coach for five seasons at Colorado from 2000-04 and coached the defensive line at Illinois State in 1998-99. He was a defensive assistant at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, Northern Illinois and IndianaState.

At Mississippi State, Wilson coached defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, the 12th overall pick in the 2012 draft.

Wilson, who turns 44 on Tuesday, was making $304,000 a year, according to the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.

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RT @chris_starrs: UGA’s Christian Payne saw his first playing time last week against Arkansas. http://t.co/eFBPVIEFWV

4 hours ago