Maryland announced four additions to coach DJ Durkin's staff Wednesday afternoon in defensive coordinator Scott Shafer, defensive line and associate head coach Mike London, defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, and strength and conditioning coach Rick Court.
It's the first wave to join Durkin's staff, and it's concentrated on the defensive side of the ball, considered a specialty for Durkin, a former defensive coordinator at Michigan and Florida.
"I'm thrilled to announce four high-quality additions to the coaching staff," Durkin said in a statement. "We're adding a pair of coaches with head coaching experience and a group of guys with track records of being great teachers and recruiters. Their overall body of work speaks for itself as experienced leaders that have a tremendous knowledge of the game."
Shafer is a former coach at Syracuse, where he went 14-23 in three seasons before he was fired in November. He has 12 years experience as a defensive coordinator at Syracuse, Michigan, Stanford — where he worked with Durkin under Jim Harbaugh — Western Michigan and Northern Illinois. He also has coached at Illinois, Indiana and Rhode Island. He was a college quarterback at Ohio University and Baldwin Wallace.
In 2010, Shafer was an AFCA National Assistant Coach of the Year nominee after his Syracuse defense finished seventh in total yards and passing yards allowed per game and 17th in points allowed per game. He also helped engineer a significant turnaround at Western Michigan. In 2004, the Broncos were 115th in total defense. Shafer arrived in 2005, and in 2006, Western Michigan ranked 11th in total defense and sixth in rushing defense, which earned him a nomination for the Broyles Award, given to college football's top assistant coach.
When Shafer's hiring as defensive coordinator at Stanford in 2007 was announced, Harbaugh said Shafer was "considered one of the most creative and innovative defensive minds in college football" in a press release.
London resigned from Virginia in November after finishing 4-8 in his sixth season leading the Cavaliers. He had a 27-46 record with Virginia, but he recruited four top-35 classes and his 2014 recruiting class had two five-star recruits in safety Quin Blanding and defensive tackle Andrew Brown, both of whom hail from the Tidewater area.
London also coached at Richmond, his alma mater where he played defensive back from 1979 to 1982, for two seasons and led the Spiders to the 2008 Football Championship Subdivision title. London was Virginia's defensive coordinator and defensive line coach in 2006 and 2007, and he coached Chris Long, an NFL first-round draft pick and first-team All-American.
London also has coaching experience with the Houston Texans, Boston College and William & Mary. He played one season for the Dallas Cowboys.
Abdul-Rahim spent the past two years on Nick Saban's staff at Alabama and was the coach at Friendship Collegiate Academy in Washington for 10 years. He coached current Maryland middle linebacker Jermaine Carter Jr., offensive lineman Derwin Gray and defensive lineman Cavon Walker at Friendship Collegiate, along with defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, who declared for the NFL draft Nov. 30 after setting Maryland's single-season sacks record.
Abdul-Rahim spent 2014 as a defensive analyst and 2015 as assistant director of player personnel at Alabama. Abdul-Rahim is regarded as a top recruiter in the area, and reportedly played a significant role in getting four-star wide receiver Trevon Diggs, the younger brother of former Maryland star Stefon Diggs, to verbally commit to Alabama.
Abdul-Rahim, who played at Washington's Dunbar High School, played two seasons collegiately at San Diego State (1997-98) and had a stint with the San Diego Riptide in the Arena Football League. He founded the Friendship Collegiate program in 2004, and more than 100 of his players earned scholarships. He also founded a defensive back training academy called Cover One.
Court worked with Durkin at Bowling Green in the mid-2000s and was most recently at Mississippi State and Ohio State. In Court's two years at Mississippi State, where he also coordinated strength and conditioning for all 15 of the university's varsity sports, the Bulldogs are 18-7. He also worked at Ohio State in 2012 and 2013, during which the Buckeyes went 24-2.
Court has also served as a head strength coach at San Diego State, Toledo and Bowling Green, where he was also an assistant strength coach.