Alabama defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi will join the Cleveland Browns staff, The Tuscaloosa News has confirmed. The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman was the first to report that he would become the Browns defensive line coach.
Lupoi had just finished his first season as the Crimson Tide’s defensive coordinator. He had been on the Alabama staff since 2014 and became a full-time assistant working with the outside linebackers in 2015.
Losing Lupoi would mean Alabama is replacing at least five of its assistant coaches from the 2018 staff and both its offensive and defensive coordinators for the second straight season. Offensive coordinator Mike Locksley became head coach at Maryland. Wide receivers coach Josh Gattis was named Michigan’s offensive coordinator, and quarterbacks coach Dan Enos was named Miami’s offensive coordinator. Offensive line coach Brent Key joined the Georgia Tech staff.
Lupoi was widely regarded as Alabama’s top recruiter on staff during the last four years. He was ranked among the top 10 recruiters nationally by 247Sports in 2016, 2017 and 2018, and was the No. 1 recruiter nationally for the class of 2019.
Alabama’s defense finished the 2018 ranked 16th nationally in yards per game (319.5) and 12th nationally in points per game (18.1). The lowest Alabama had ranked in scoring since 2007 was seventh nationally before this season. The lowest it had been ranked in total defense in a season was 12th in that time.
The Crimson Tide won an SEC championship but lost the national championship 44-16 to Clemson, the largest margin of defeat for the program in a game under Nick Saban.
Lupoi’s contract paid him $1.1 million in salary this season. Locksley was the only Alabama assistant to make more, receiving $1.2 million in salary. Inside linebackers coach Pete Golding, in his first year on staff, held the title of co-defensive coordinator.
Former Alabama quarterback Freddie Kitchens was named head coach of the Browns earlier this week.