TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – TJ Rushing has been named Florida State’s defensive backs coach, head coach Mike Norvell announced Saturday.
“I’m excited to announce TJ Rushing as the defensive backs coach here at Florida State University,” Norvell said. “Coach Rushing is one of the brightest minds and teachers in college football. His experience as an All-American in college to his playing career in the National Football League has prepared him well to mentor and develop our student-athletes at the highest level. Coach Rushing will bring a tremendous amount of passion and energy to every aspect of the program, not only on the field but also in recruiting the nation’s best and brightest to Florida State.”
Rushing, who won Super Bowl XLI as a member of the Indianapolis Colts, has eight years of coaching experience following his professional playing career. He spent the last two seasons at Memphis and also spent time on staffs at Arizona State, Stanford and Northern Arizona.
“My family and I are elated to join Coach Norvell and Coach Fuller at Florida State University,” Rushing said. “The list of great defensive backs that have played at this university are the Who’s Who in college football. I am eager to get there and assist in developing the next group of Seminole greats.”
Rushing comes to Tallahassee after spending the 2018 and 2019 seasons as Norvell’s defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator. He helped lead the Tigers to a program-record 12 wins, including the school’s first outright conference championship since 1969, and a berth in the New Year’s Six Cotton Bowl in 2019. Over his two seasons on staff, Memphis grabbed 18 interceptions and forced 37 total turnovers, returning four for touchdowns.
The Tigers’ 2019 defense ranked 18th in FBS with a team passing efficiency defense rating of 115.36 and ranked 25th in the nation with an average of 7.0 tackles for loss per game. In 2018, Memphis had the conference’s fourth-highest average of tackles for loss per game with 7.4 and the fourth-best sacks-per-game average of 2.64.
Rushing tutored cornerback TJ Carter to all-conference recognition both seasons at Memphis. Carter, who in 2018 ranked fourth in the conference with 12 pass breakups and 14 passes defended, was included on the Jim Thorpe Award watch list heading into the 2019 season and earned All-American Athletic Conference honors for the second straight season.
At Arizona State, Rushing tutored Freshman All-American Chase Lucas, who led the Sun Devils with two interceptions and seven pass breakups and also made 53 tackles from his cornerback position in 2017.
Before returning to Arizona State, Rushing was a defensive assistant at Stanford in 2015 working primarily with the cornerbacks. That year, behind All-Pac-12 selection Ronnie Harris, the Cardinal posted a 12-2 record, won the conference championship and defeated No. 5 Iowa in the Rose Bowl. Stanford ended the season ranked No. 3 in both national polls, the program’s highest Associated Press ranking since winning the 1940 national championship.
Rushing spent the 2014 season coaching cornerbacks at Northern Arizona. There, he tutored a pair of cornerbacks to all-conference recognition, including first-team performer Marcus Alford. The Lumberjacks had the conference’s best pass defense, allowing an average of 176.8 yards per game through the air, and ranked second with a team pass efficiency defense rating of 122.03.
Rushing began his coaching career at Arizona State, serving as a graduate assistant in 2012 and defensive quality control coach in 2013. In 2012, the Sun Devils led the Pac-12 in passing defense, allowing an average of 167.9 yards per game that was the third-lowest in the country, and led the conference in pass efficiency defense, ranking 10th in the country with a rating of 105.45. Arizona State also nabbed 21 interceptions, the fourth-highest total in the nation, and all four starting defensive backs earned all-conference honors.
Rushing played five seasons in the NFL, the first four with the Indianapolis Colts after being selected in the seventh round of the 2006 NFL Draft. He helped the Colts win the Super Bowl his rookie year and returned to the Super Bowl three years later after winning another AFC championship. He appeared in 35 games and collected a combined 1,290 return yards that includes a 90-yard punt return touchdown. In four playoff games he added 14 more returns for 208 yards.
Rushing was drafted after a collegiate career that put him among the greatest returners in Stanford history. He twice earned All-Pac-10 honors, including a spot as the first-team specialist in 2004. Rushing’s three kickoff return touchdowns are tied for the program record, and he left school ranking second in program history with 1,409 career kickoff return yards and third with an average of 27.1 yards per kickoff return.
Rushing appeared in 43 career games and made 19 starts at cornerback for the Cardinal. He recorded 147 tackles, including 13.0 for loss with 4.0 sacks, four interceptions, 14 pass breakups, four forced fumbles, two blocked kicks and one fumble recovery.
Rushing also was a sprinter for the Stanford track and field team his first two years on campus. He ran the leadoff leg on Stanford’s 4×100-meter relay team that broke the school record with a time of 39.71 seconds in 2004.
Rushing earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Stanford in 2006. He and his wife, Taylor, have three children, Collin, Mora and Terrall III.
|2020-||Florida State||Defensive Backs|
|2018-19||Memphis||Passing Game Coordinator/Defensive Backs|
|2016-17||Arizona State||Defensive Backs|
|2013||Arizona State||Defensive Quality Control|
|2012||Arizona State||Graduate Assistant|