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Sources: Tennessee adding veteran Willie Martinez as defensive backs coach


Josh Heupel continues to build his Tennessee staff with a blend of veteran assistants and up-and-coming younger staffers.

On Wednesday night, sources told FootballScoop that Heupel is adding veteran secondary specialist Willie Martinez to his initial Volunteers staff.

Martinez, per sources, will coach Tennessee’s cornerbacks. New Vols defensive coordinator Tim Banks specializes in coaching safeties.

Pairing the two together will give Heupel’s Tennessee defense two back-end coaches with coordinator and play-calling experience.

Martinez previously served as the defensive coordinator at the University of Georgia roughly a decade ago.

Tennessee also has veteran defensive line coach Rodney Garner lined up on its defensive staff.

Martinez, who previously coached at Tennessee from 2013-17 on Butch Jones' Vols' staff, also has previous stops at Central Florida, Auburn and Oklahoma. He was on Heupel's staff for each of Heupel's three seasons atop the UCF program.

With 14 years of SEC experience, Martinez has placed a number of players into the NFL. Martinez helped coach 16 NFL players at Georgia, including Thorpe semifinalists Sean Jones and Greg Blue as well as Thorpe finalist Thomas Davis. Martinez also coached five future NFL players at Auburn.

During his time at Tennessee, Martinez helped develop Cam Sutton into an NFL Draft pick for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Most recently at UCF, Martinez helped Richie Grant land as a Thorpe Award finalist.

Martinez, per sources, is receiving a two-year deal with the Vols.