Mel Tucker Names Diron Reynolds Defensive Line Coach

Reynolds held the same position at Stanford for seven years
Stanford, Ca - September 17, 2016: The Stanford Cardinal vs the USC Trojans at Stanford...
Stanford, Ca - September 17, 2016: The Stanford Cardinal vs the USC Trojans at Stanford Stadium. Final score Stanford 27, USC Trojans 10.(David Bernal | David Bernal/
Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 2:13 PM EST
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (MSU Athletics) - Michigan State head football coach Mel Tucker has named Diron Reynolds as the program’s defensive line coach.

Reynolds, who has more than 25 years of coaching experience both at the NFL and Power 5 levels, previously spent the past seven seasons (2016-22) as the defensive line coach at Stanford. He has coached on multiple championship teams, including winning a Super Bowl ring with the Colts, and has worked with numerous All-Americans, NFL Draft picks and All-Pro players.

“I’ve known Diron Reynolds for more than 15 years – he’s one of the best coaches in the business,” said Tucker. “He has an impressive pedigree having worked for some of the top coaches in all of football, including Tony Dungy, Leslie Frazier, David Shaw and Jim Caldwell, and has coached in both the Super Bowl and College Football Playoff. He also has developed players at the highest level, from mentoring future NFL Draft picks to working daily with Pro Bowlers in the NFL. Diron is a family man with great character who will be relentless in leading and motivating our players on and off the field. I’m thrilled about this hire and can’t wait to start working with him.”

During his time at Stanford, Reynolds coached four NFL Draft picks on the defensive line, including Solomon Thomas, who was the highest defensive player drafted in school history at No. 3 overall in 2017 by the San Francisco 49ers. Thomas also won the Pac-12′s Morris Trophy, given to the league’s top lineman, and garnered All-America honors from the Football Writers Association of America (second team), USA TODAY (second team) and Associated Press (third team).

Reynolds instructed defensive tackle Harrison Phillips throughout his Cardinal career, and the All-American was selected 96th overall by the Buffalo Bills in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Phillips led Stanford in tackles with 103, the most of any defensive lineman in the nation. Among those 103 tackles were a team-best 17 for loss and 7.5 sacks, as well as two forced fumbles. He was a second-team All-America choice by the Football Writers Association of America, and the Associated Press voted him third-team All-America. Phillips just completed his fifth season in the NFL.

Reynolds also mentored defensive end Casey Toohill (2020 seventh round, No. 233 overall, Eagles) and defensive end Thomas Booker (2022 fifth round, No. 150 overall, Texans) in Palo Alto.

After originally spending a season as a defensive assistant at Stanford in 2014, Reynolds went to Oklahoma in 2015 to coach the Big 12 Champion Sooners before returning to the Cardinal in 2016. In his lone season in Norman, Reynolds helped OU to a berth in the College Football Playoff while coaching first-team All-Big 12 defensive lineman Charles Tapper, who was selected in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. Reynolds’ coaching resume includes more than a decade of coaching in the NFL with the Colts (2002-06), Dolphins (2007) and Vikings (2009-13).

His most recent NFL experience came under the tutelage of Leslie Frazier with the Vikings. Reynolds spent five seasons (2009-13) as the assistant defensive line coach at Minnesota, working with All-Pro defensive linemen Jared Allen and Nick Williams, and his unit helped the Vikings lead the NFL in sacks in 2011 with 50. Reynolds spent the 2007 season with the Miami Dolphins as a defensive line coach and worked with NFL Hall of Famer Jason Taylor, who had 11 sacks and 16 TFLs that season to earn Pro Bowl honors for the sixth time in his career.

Reynolds coached the previous five seasons in Indianapolis as a member of Tony Dungy’s coaching staff, where he served as a defensive quality control coach when the Colts won Super Bowl XLI over the Bears. Reynolds worked alongside Colts defensive line coach John Teerlinck as the team reached the NFL Playoffs each season during Reynolds’ five-year tenure in Indianapolis (2002-06). He also worked with seven-time Pro Bowler and two-time defensive player of the year Dwight Freeney with the Colts.Prior to coaching in the NFL, Reynolds worked as a defensive tackles coach at Indiana in 2001. His first collegiate coaching experience came at his alma mater, Wake Forest, where he served as a graduate assistant in 1997-98 and outside linebackers coach from 1999-2000. Reynolds began his coaching career in 1995 at Brookland-Cayce High School where he served as an assistant coach and strength and conditioning coach. He earned four letters as a linebacker and special teams contributor at Wake Forest from 1990-93, graduating in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in communication. He also earned a master’s degree in liberal studies from Wake Forest in 1999.Reynolds, who is originally from Aiken, South Carolina, is married to Emon and the couple has four children.

The Diron Reynolds File

FAMILY: Wife, Emon, and four children.

PREVIOUS COACHING EXPERIENCE: Assistant coach at Brookland-Cayce High School (1995-96); Graduate assistant (defense) at Wake Forest (1997-98); Outside linebackers coach at Wake Forest (1999-2000); Defensive tackles coach at Indiana (2001); Defensive quality control at Indianapolis Colts (2002-06); Defensive line coach at Miami Dolphins (2007); Assistant defensive line coach at Minnesota Vikings (2009-13); Defensive assistant at Stanford (2014); Defensive line coach at Oklahoma (2015); Defensive line coach at Stanford (2016-22).

EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in communication from Wake Forest in 1994; master’s degree in liberal studies from Wake Forest in 1999.

PLAYING EXPERIENCE: Four-year letterwinner (1990-93) as a linebacker at Wake Forest.

POSTSEASON EXPERIENCE: Player – 1992 Independence Bowl. Coach – 1999 Aloha Bowl, 2002 NFL Playoffs (Wild Card), 2003 NFL Playoffs (AFC Championship Game), 2004 NFL Playoffs (AFC Divisional Round), 2005 NFL Playoffs (AFC Divisional Round), Super Bowl XLI (2006 season), 2009 NFL Playoffs (NFC Championship Game), 2012 NFL Playoffs (Wild Card), 2015 College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Orange Bowl, 2016 Sun Bowl, 2017 Alamo Bowl, 2018 Sun Bowl.


DE Charles Tapper, Oklahoma (2016 fourth round, No. 101 overall, Cowboys)

DL Solomon Thomas, Stanford (2017 first round, No. 3 overall, 49ers)

DT Harrison Phillips, Stanford (2018 third round, No. 96 overall, Bills)

DE Casey Toohill, Stanford (2020 seventh round, No. 233 overall, Eagles)

DE Thomas Booker, Stanford (2022 fifth round, No. 150 overall, Texans)

ALL-AMERICANS COACHED: DL Solomon Thomas (2016, Stanford), DT Harrison Phillips (2017, Stanford)

FIRST-TEAM ALL-PROS COACHED: DE Jared Allen (Vikings, 2009, 2011), DT Kevin Williams (Vikings, 2009), DE Dwight Freeney (Colts, 2004, 2005)

PRO BOWLERS COACHED: DE Jared Allen (Vikings, 2009, 2011, 2012), Pro Football Hall of Fame Finalist; DT Kevin Williams (Vikings, 2009, 2010); DE Jason Taylor (Dolphins, 2007), Pro Football Hall of Fame; DE Dwight Freeney (Colts, 2003, 2004, 2005)

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