Jan. 12, 2009
Former Auburn All-American Tracy Rocker has been named the defensive line coach at Auburn, head coach Gene Chizik announced Monday. Rocker, who won the 1988 Outland and Lombardi Trophies, spent this past season as the defensive line coach at Ole Miss and previously served in the same capacity at Arkansas for five seasons.
Rocker was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame by the National Football Foundation in December, 2004, in New York City, and was inducted into Alabama's state Sports Hall of Fame in the summer of 2005.
"I'm glad to be welcomed back to Auburn, where I have a lot of fond memories and had many great experiences," Rocker said. "There are three things that I've learned you need to be successful in football, and those are hard work, patience, and team work. I'm looking forward to the challenges ahead and working for Coach Chizik and the entire staff."
A two-time All-American (1987, '88) and a three-time All-SEC (1986, '87, '88) selection as a player at Auburn, Rocker was named SEC Player of the Year during his senior season. He finished his career with 354 tackles, including 21 quarterback sacks and 48 tackles for loss.
During his tenure, Auburn won SEC Championships in 1987 and 1988, and he was the first SEC player ever to win both the Outland and Lombardi Trophies. Rocker was also voted to Auburn's Team of the Century in 1993.
"It's a tremendous privilege to be able to add to our staff one of the greatest players to ever wear an Auburn uniform," Chizik said. "Tracy's ability as an All-American player and his reputation nationally as a defensive line coach will provide instant credibility to our players and recruits."
This past season at Ole Miss, Rocker helped the Rebels finish 14th in the final Associated Press Top 25 poll after posting a 9-4 record and tutored one of the most dominant defensive lines in the nation. The unit helped the Ole Miss defensive tie for first nationally in tackles for loss with 112 and finished first in the SEC and tied for fourth in the nation with 39 sacks. In a shutout of Mississippi State, the Rebel defense posted a school-record 11.0 sacks and 15.0 tackles for loss.
Ole Miss' defense also finished 19th nationally in total defense (307.3 ypg), 20th in scoring defense (19.0 ppg) and was fourth in rushing defense (85.5 ypg), good for second in the SEC.
Rocker mentored two Rebels to All-America honors in Peria Jerry, who was named a second team All-American and Greg Hardy was named a third-team selection, both by Rivals.com. Jerry and Hardy also earned first and second team All-SEC accolades, respectively.
Before arriving in Oxford, Rocker spent five years on the Arkansas staff as defensive line coach. His 2006 line ranked No. 4 in the SEC and 33rd in the nation in rushing defense, holding opponents to 114.57 yards per game. Arkansas also ranked first in the SEC and No. 21 nationally in tackles for loss with 6.93.
Under Rocker's guidance, Jamaal Anderson was the premier pass rusher in the SEC in 2006 with 14 sacks for 100 yards and 20.5 tackles for loss. The honorable mention All-American ranked third nationally in sacks per game with 1.0, while his 20.5 TFL ranked 12th. Anderson also notched 65 tackles and a team-best 26 quarterback hurries.
Anderson was selected as the eighth pick of the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft, while fellow Razorback defensive lineman Keith Jackson was taken in the seventh round.
Rocker's 2005 unit tied for second in the SEC with 29 sacks and was fourth in rushing defense behind Jackson, who earned second-team All-SEC honors after finishing fourth on the team with 74 tackles.
In 2004, Rocker coached first-team All-SEC end Jeb Huckeba, who produced 56 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. Huckeba was as selected in the fifth round of the NFL Draft.
In his first season with the Razorbacks, UA's 2003 defensive line helped the Hogs finish fifth in the SEC in total defense, allowing 344.0 yards per game.
Rocker, 42, joined Arkansas' staff after one year at Cincinnati where he helped the Bearcats win a share of the 2002 Conference USA title.
Prior to his stint at Cincinnati, Rocker spent five seasons as the defensive line coach at Troy State University in Troy, Ala. While at TSU, three of his players received Division I-AA All-America honors, including Al Lucas, who earned the 1999 Buck Buchanan Award as the top defensive player in Division I-AA. A total of 13 TSU players garnered all-conference accolades under Rocker, while five players went on to sign NFL contracts, including Marcus Spriggs, who was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the sixth round in 1999.
A third-round pick of the Washington Redskins in the 1989 NFL Draft, Rocker went on to play two seasons with the Redskins and was selected to the NFL All-Rookie team in 1990. He concluded his playing career with a one-year stint with the Orlando Thunder in the World Football League.
Rocker returned to Auburn to complete his undergraduate degree in 1992 and began his coaching career at Auburn (Ala.) High School the same year. After serving two seasons as defensive coordinator at Auburn High School, he spent three years as a defensive line coach at West Alabama (1994-96).
Rocker also spent part of the summer in 2001 working as an intern with the Indianapolis Colts and, in 2006, working with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
A native of Atlanta, Rocker and his wife, Lalitha, have a son, Kumar.