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Austin Clark named Illinois’ defensive line coach

Clark replaces Mike Phair.

Illinois officially named Austin Clark its new defensive line coach Friday morning.

Clark, 27, replaces Mike Phair, who left for the same position with the Indianapolis Colts in January.

Austin Clark came in for his interview and just blew us away with his enthusiasm and detail,” said Illinois head coach Lovie Smith in a press release. “He brings an outstanding attitude and high level of energy to our program. Our players are going to love working with Austin. He is extremely detailed and has a plan for each of the guys on the defensive line. Austin gained some great experience in his previous position, and will be a terrific addition to our staff.”

Clark worked with the USC Trojans’ defensive line and outside linebackers for the past two years after an injury-plagued career as a player at California.

He has his work cut out for him with a talented group of freshmen in 2018, and lofty expectations to live up to what Phair was able to accomplish, sending Jihad Ward, Dewaune Smoot and Carroll Phillips to the NFL.

Clark’s hire is pending approval by the UI Board of Trustees.