Florida football: Tulane assistant Gerald Chatman hired as Gators defensive line coach

By OnlyGators.com Staff
December 20, 2023
Florida football: Tulane assistant Gerald Chatman hired as Gators defensive line coach

More than three weeks after Florida Gators head coach Billy Napier’s move to fire a pair of defensive assistants was made public, Florida has finally been able to fill the second of those vacancies. The Gators on Friday announced the program has hired Tulane defensive line coach Gerald Chatman to the same position after adding San Diego Chargers assistant secondary coach Will Harris to lead the defensive backs.

“[Chatman] will do a great job with our defensive line,” head coach Billy Napier said. “Gerald has proven to be an effective teacher, motivator, mentor and recruiter throughout his career. His experience in the SEC, NFL and other levels of football will be beneficial. We are excited to get to work alongside Gerald as he starts his journey at UF.”

Chatman has been all over the place as late — to the extent that his movement has been tough to track.

He was a defensive assistant for the Cincinnati Bengals from 2019-20 before becoming a defensive analyst at LSU in 2021. Then he took a job at Tulane to start 2022 only to instead join Colorado as defensive line coach (and ultimately interim defensive coordinator). After that season, he worked as an interim defensive line coach at LSU only to return to coaching the position at Tulane.

Under Chatman, the Green Wave had two All-AAC defensive linemen last season. Many Tigers players were immensely fond of him during his time at LSU as well.

“My family and I are excited to join the University of Florida,” Chatman said. “I look forward to relentlessly working with coach Napier, the staff, and players to uphold the standard of the historic Gators football program. I embrace the challenge.”

One assumes Napier is familiar with Chatman given Napier’s time spent at Louisiana. Still, his hire marks the second straight for Florida that surprises given the departures of respected assistants Corey Raymond and Sean Spencer. Raymond is believed to be interested in the NFL, while Spencer was quickly snatched up by Texas A&M. UF also lost linebackers coach Jay Bateman to a defensive coordinator role at TAMU this week.

It has been expected that the Gators would also make changes to their offense, special teams and strength & conditioning staffs, though no further movement has occurred at this time.

Mark Hocke, the strength & conditioning coordinator who also holds an associate head coach role, is expected to take on a different position, a source close to the situation tells OnlyGators.com.

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