Jordan Peterson named KU football’s new safeties coach

photo by: Contributed photo

A former defensive coordinator and safeties coach at New Mexico, Jordan Peterson was hired by Les Miles to become the Kansas football team's safeties coach, KU announced.

A Texas native and former Big 12 defensive back at Texas A & M, Jordan Peterson is returning to the conference, this time at the University of Kansas, as the newest assistant on Les Miles’ coaching staff.

KU announced Saturday that Miles hired Peterson, most recently the defensive coordinator at New Mexico, as the Jayhawks’ new safeties coach.

“He is an excellent teacher,” Miles said of Peterson in a KU release, “and has strong recruiting ties in Texas, an area that is vital to us. A rising star in the coaching profession and a true family man, Jordan is a great fit for what we are looking for in our program.”

Peterson replaces Clint Bowen, the longtime KU assistant who left in December to become the defensive coordinator at North Texas.

Terms of Peterson’s contract were not immediately available on Saturday.

Initially the Lobos safeties coach when Bob Davies added him to his staff in 2017, Peterson was promoted to defensive coordinator this past year and continued to coach safeties during his third year on the UNM staff. The Lobos finished 2-10 in 2019, with opponents scoring 37.2 points per game.

Before heading to UNM, Peterson spent five seasons with Fresno State, in a a variety of roles, mostly working for then-head coach Tim DeRuyter. At various points during his time at Fresno, Peterson coached defensive backs, linebackers and special teams, and served as a recruiting coordinator.

In 2012, when Peterson coached Fresno State’s defensive backs, the Bulldogs went 9-4 and ranked second nationally in passing defense.

Originally from Lexington, Texas, Peterson played four years of college football at A&M, and it was there where his coaching career got started, as a graduate assistant in 2010 and 2011, when Mike Sherman was the head coach. Peterson earned a bachelor’s degree in sport management, before picking up his master’s in education curriculum and instruction.

Peterson was a two-time member of the Academic All-Big 12 First Team while playing for the Aggies from 2006-09, when he totaled 81 tackles and broke up 15 passes.

Peterson inherits a mostly young position group at KU after three of the Jayhawks’ best safeties Bryce Torneden, Mike Lee and Jeremiah McCullough completed their senior seasons in 2019.

Davon Ferguson (57 total tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss and one forced fumble this past year) and Ricky Thomas (20 tackles, one interception) are the most experienced safeties expected to return for the 2020 season. Ferguson will be a junior and Thomas a senior.

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