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December 20, 2012
Georgia recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach Rodney Garner has accepted a position at Auburn, Tigers athletic director Jay Jacobs confirmed via Twitter Thursday night.
According to Jacobs, Garner will serve as the Tigers' assistant head coach and defensive line coach.
Garner is the fifth coach added to Malzahn's staff.
Garner was named as one of the country's top recruiters in both 2010 and 2011, and was largely responsible for the Bulldogs' "Dream Team" Class in 2011.
"Auburn has always been a very special place for me and my wife, Kimberly, who is also an Auburn graduate," Garner said. "I owe a lot to Auburn and the men who helped mold me to who I am today both professionally and personally. I'm very appreciative to Coach Malzahn for this opportunity and I feel very strongly that I can be an asset to the program. I have a lot of love for Auburn and I felt this was a great chance to help give back to a place that has given me so much. I look forward to helping get Auburn back to where it belongs."
Garner leaves the Bulldogs after spending the last 14 years in Athens after coming to Georgia in 1998 were he served under former head coach Jim Donnan.
So what's next for the Bulldogs?
In a text to UGASports.com, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said he will be the person responsible for hiring Garner's replacement, and that the hire will be for a new defensive line coach.
Grantham said he will not assume the duties of coaching the Bulldog defensive line and will hire a coach solely to coach that position. He said coaches from "all levels" will be considered for the job and there is no timetable on when the hire might be made.
"It will be a good hire, just like Kirk (Olivadotti) and Scott (Lakatos)," Grantham said.
Georgia head coach Mark Richt has yet to comment on Garner's leaving, or what he might do regarding the the title of recruiting coordinator.
It's believed that tight ends coach John Lilly, who served in that capacity at Florida State, could assume the role.
"I want to thank Rodney for 15 years of loyal service to UGA. He was the first assistant I hired when I came to Georgia and it turned out to be a great decision," Georgia head coach Mark Richt said. "He's a tremendous ball coach, recruiter, and mentor and great example of what a good father and husband should be. He's been a blessing to my life as well as to UGA. We wish him and Kim all the best."