MARTIN, Tenn. – University of Tennessee at Martin head football coach Jason Simpson has announced the promotion of Jordon Hankins as the Skyhawks new defensive coordinator. Hankins has been a member of the UT Martin coaching staff for seven seasons, including serving the past six years as the program’s associate head coach along with other positional duties.
Hankins takes over defensive duties for the Skyhawks after former defensive coordinator Jeff Byrd resigned to take a similar position at Southland Conference foe Stephen F. Austin.
“As soon as the position became available, I knew immediately who I wanted to promote on our current staff to defense coordinator and I am delighted to have Jordon in this position.,” said Simpson. “Jordon is a knowledgeable and loyal UT Martin guy. Not only do I trust him, but he garners the respect and tremendous trust of our student-athletes. We expect him to continue to grow and definitely improve our defense which already ranks amongst the nation’s best.”
Along with serving as the Skyhawks associate head coach for six seasons, Hankins most recently served as the team’s linebackers coach and special teams coordinator. As the team’s defensive eyes in the sky, Hankins helped a defense which ranked second in the OVC in scoring defense (24.0 ppg), total defense (322.4 ypg), rushing defense (128.3 ypg) and pass defense (194.1 ypg) behind nationally ranked Jacksonville State. The Skyhawks also ranked second in the league with 17 interceptions and 27 sacks.
UT Martin’s defense also led the OVC in turnovers forced with 28 which ranked seventh nationally while serving as the most turnovers gained since the 2012 season. The Skyhawks especially flexed their muscles against No. 24 Eastern Illinois where they forced seven turnovers in the contest, marking the best single-game performance since 2004. The Skyhawks forced three or more turnovers in four contests – against Cincinnati, Hawai'i, Bacone and Eastern Illinois.
As the team’s special teams’ coordinator, Hankins oversaw a unit which made an impact nationally. UT Martin ranked first nationally in blocked kicks allowed (zero), blocked punts allowed (zero) and second in defensive touchdowns (six). The Skyhawks also ranked fifth nationally in kickoff return defense (16.36 yards per return) while sitting first in the OVC in punt return average (12.3 yards per punt) and kickoff coverage (41.5 yards per kick). All-OVC second team honoree Tae Martin ranked fourth nationally in kickoff return touchdowns with one while OVC All-Newcomer selection Londell Lee ranked fourth nationally in punt returns (13.6) and fifth in punt return touchdowns (one).
Overall, Hankins has overseen nine players who have earned OVC postseason honors in Tae Martin, Londell Lee, Jackson Redditt, Tony Bell, Nick Dance, Ben Johnson, James Satterfield, Jason McNair and Cody Sandlin.
As a whole, Hankins has held four different positions within the UT Martin staff – including the recent promotion to defensive coordinator. Hankins served as the team’s linebacker coach from 2013-16 after coaching the running backs from 2010-12. He also oversaw the team’s strength and conditioning efforts from 2010-2014.
Before UT Martin, Hankins served as an assistant coach and the head strength and conditioning coach at Riverdale High School for four years under Ron Aydelott.
Hankins, who played linebacker from 2001-03 for head coaches Sam McCorkle and Matt Griffin, graduated from UT Martin in 2005. Hankins finished his career with 31 solo tackles and 51 total tackles.
A native of Hohenwald, Tenn., Hankins prepped at Lewis County High School where he helped lead the team to three regional football championships. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards his senior year and was named a 1998 Mr. Football Finalist. He earned all-state honors in both football and baseball.
Hankins has both a bachelor's (2005) and master's degree (2012) in education from UT Martin. He also has a physical education endorsement. He is married to the former Christa Webb (a Skyhawk softball alum who also received her master's degree from UT Martin) and has two children, Colt and Case.