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Former Maryland football assistant Aazaar Abdul-Rahim headed to UMass as defensive coordinator

Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, who coached both cornerbacks and safeties during his three seasons at Maryland, confirmed Thursday that he is going to Massachusetts as defensive coordinator.

Abdul-Rahim, 42, will join former Maryland offensive coordinator Walt Bell, who got his first head coaching job at UMass after spending one season as offensive coordinator at Florida State.

Many thought Abdul-Rahim would be retained by new Maryland coach Michael Locksley, considering the relationship they built when Locksley was previously in College Park and Abdul-Rahim was head coach at Friendship Collegiate Academy in Washington.

Abdul-Rahim, who like Locksley spent time as an assistant at Alabama for two seasons before joining DJ Durkin’s staff at Maryland, was considered among the top recruiters in the Big Ten during his three seasons with the Terps.

Abdul-Rahim also had success in helping develop several cornerbacks and safeties, including New England Patriots rookie JC Jackson and Darnell Savage Jr., who had four interceptions last season for a Maryland secondary that tied for third in the Football Bowl Subdivision with 18.

In a text message Thursday, Abdul-Rahim said he was “excited” about joining Bell’s staff, but declined further comment.

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