Penn State’s Manny Diaz ranked among best defensive coordinators
Manny Diaz is the former head coach of the Miami Hurricanes and he earned that job not by being a native son, though that was a bonus, by running elite defenses.
For that fact, it had people both surprised but excited when it was announced Diaz was coming to Happy Valley to be a part of James Franklin’s all-star staff. He made an immediate impact in year one with the defense finishing ranked 17th in the nation in total defense after finishing 34th the year prior.
That jump was significant enough to get the attention of the Pro Football Network as they ranked the top ten defensive coordinators in the country. They organized the ten best defensive coordinators in the country and the Big Ten ended up being heavily represented. Four of the top five were Big Ten members, with Diaz ranked fifth.
Phil Parker of Iowa, Jesse Minter of Michigan, Jim Knowles of Ohio State, and Will Muschamp of South Carolina were ranked ahead of him.
They highlighted the defensive improvements from Diaz as the reason for his ranking stating “if his defenses keep performing as they did in 2022, it won’t be long before another program gives him a shot at being a head coach. Penn State’s defense improved from 22nd in expected points allowed per play in 2021 to fifth this past year.”
As they mention, Diaz will likely not be at State College for long. Teams such as FAU and USF nearly grabbed him this Winter for their open head coach positions before going in other directions. With the players they have on defense this year, he is likely to repeat his dominant performance leading to more offers in the Winter of 2023.
Until then, Penn State fans just need to enjoy his approach and aggressive defensive style as it is a throwback approach with a new school attitude.
Penn State in Top 12 for four-star receiver in 2024
Penn State gets 2025 commitment from three-star safety Omari Gaines
Todd McShay calls Brenton Strange one of "most underrated players in the draft"