Jason Rollins named Grambling defensive coordinator

title image via Grambling Football

Courtesy of Grambling Athletics

Grambling State University head football coach Mickey Joseph has named Jason Rollins as Defensive Coordinator and Safeties Coach. 

Rollins arrives at GSU after having served as interim head coach of Southern University during the 2021 season. 

Prior to his stint at SU, he was a member of the staff at the University of Texas at San Antonio where he served as the defensive coordinator for two seasons and spent two years as associate head coach and linebackers coach.

In his first year as the defensive coordinator and safeties coach, UTSA displayed an aggressive scheme by recording 78 tackles for loss, 23 sacks and 19 turnovers, including 10 fumble recoveries, which ranked fourth in Conference USA and 36th nationally. Linebacker Josiah Tauaefa registered 113 tackles — the second-highest total in program history — en route to being named one of 10 semifinalists for the Butkus Award, second-team all-conference by Pro Football Focus (PFF) and honorable mention all-conference by the league’s head coaches. Defensive end Lorenzo Dantzler picked up second-team all-conference honors by PFF, while safety C.J. Levine and defensive tackle Kevin Strong, Jr. earned honorable mention all-conference accolades. 

Rollins helped mentor one of the nation’s top defenses in 2017, as the Roadrunners led C-USA in seven different statistical categories and ranked in the top 10 among all Football Bowl Subdivision teams. UTSA held eight of its 11 opponents to 300-or-less yards of total offense, including a school record 149 allowed in the 51-17 win against Southern, and five foes rushed for 100-or-less yards, highlighted by a program-record 37 allowed in the 44-14 victory at Texas State. Linebacker La’Kel Bass earned honorable mention all-conference accolades after leading the team with 68 tackles to go along with 7.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and a pair of fumble recoveries.

In his first season with the Roadrunners, he helped guide the team to six wins and the program’s first-ever bowl game, the 2016 Gildan New Mexico Bowl. His linebackers combined for 267 tackles, 24 tackles for loss, 12 sacks and 12 quarterback hurries. Josiah Tauaefa broke UTSA’s single-season record for tackles with 115 en route to becoming the Roadrunners’ first Freshman All-American (Football Writers Association of America), C-USA Freshman of the Year and a first-team all-conference selection. Bass tied the school standard for single-season tackles for loss with 11 as part of his 87 total stops.

Rollins came to San Antonio from Tulane, where he spent nine seasons as secondary coach, including serving as co-defensive coordinator in 2015 and special teams coordinator in 2014. He played a key role in the development of three All-Americans and four NFL players in draft picks Lorenzo Doss and Taurean Nixon, as well as free agents Derrick Strozier and Jordan Sullen.

In 2013, Rollins’ secondary was a big reason why the Green Wave made their first bowl appearance since the 2002 season. Tulane ranked second nationally in turnovers forced with 35, including 19 interceptions with 15 by the defensive backfield. Doss, an All-America cornerback, picked off seven passes, returning a pair for touchdowns, and forced two fumbles. Additionally, Tulane allowed just 352.1 yards per game, which ranked 22nd in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).

In 2014, Rollins helped lead the secondary to a combined 15 interceptions, seven fumble recoveries and a pair of forced fumbles, as the unit contributed to 22 of the team’s 28 takeaways, which ranked 21st nationally. Parry Nickerson led the Green Wave and all FBS freshmen with six picks and garnered Freshman All-America accolades.

Rollins’ impact on Tulane’s secondary was immediate from the time he joined the staff prior to the 2008 campaign. In his first season in New Orleans, the group combined for 23 pass breakups, five interceptions, five forced fumbles and five recoveries.

During the next four years, his defensive backs combined for 31 interceptions and 120 pass breakups while helping the Green Wave defense consistently rank near the top of Conference USA in most major statistical categories.

Prior to his tenure at Tulane, Rollins was co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach at his alma mater, McNeese State, for two seasons (2005-06). He helped the Cowboys to a 23-10 record, two Southland Conference championships and a Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoff appearance in in his final season.

Rollins got his coaching start as an assistant coach for the defensive backs at McNeese State in 1997-98. He was an assistant coach in the Texas prep ranks at Galveston Ball (1999-2000) and La Marque (2001).

He spent three seasons (2002-04) as the defensive backs coach at Northwestern State, where he helped the Demons to the 2004 Southland title on the strength of the top defense in the FCS.

Rollins was an all-state and all-district performer at Newton (Texas) High School and he went on to play safety at McNeese State where he earned his bachelor’s degree in health and human performance in 1996.

He and his wife, Danna, have one son, Tieler.

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