The New England Patriots needed to add another coaching assistant to the staff after promoting Nick Caley to tight ends coach. They reached out to the college ranks for a replacement, per Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman.
“SOURCE: UT-Chattanooga Run Game Coordinator/OLB coach DeMarcus Covington is expected to accept a job in the NFL with the New England Patriots defensive staff,” Feldman wrote on his Facebook page. “Covington, a former Ole Miss grad assistant, becomes the second Tom Arth protege to get plucked from his staff this off-season by an NFL staff. Earlier the Chicago Bears hired his DC Brandon Staley as their OLB coach.”
Covington was a three-year starter at wide receiver at Samford from 2007-10 and joined the University of Alabama-Birmingham coaching staff in 2012 as a graduate assistant specializing in linebackers and defensive line. In 2013 and 2014, Covington helped coached the defensive line at Ole Miss.
In 2015, Covington coached the defensive line for the University of Tennessee at Martin, before serving as the defensive line coach and co-defensive coordinator for Eastern Illinois- the alma mater for Patriots back-up QB Jimmy Garoppolo.
Covington was going to coach the edge defenders in the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s 3-4 defense in 2017, but received an offer to join the Patriots coaching staff.
Despite Covington’s obvious experience on defense and with the defensive line, don’t automatically project to help with the defense; Caley had a lengthy resume as a secondary coach in the college ranks before serving as an offensive assistant with the Patriots and ultimately receiving the job of tight ends coach.
Covington might seem like a left-field hire, but there are clear connections in place. The Patriots have had their eye on Eastern Illinois in recent years- Caley also coached at Eastern Illinois- and Covington was hired to the Chattanooga staff by head new head coach Tom Arth.
Prior to joining Chattanooga, Arth served as the head coach at John Carroll from 2013-2016, where he previously played quarterback from 1999-2002.
If John Carroll sounds familiar, it’s because it’s a major pipeline of Patriots talent. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels (wide receiver from 1995-99), director of player personnel Nick Caserio (quarterback from 1994-98), assistant quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinkski (wide receiver from 1995-99), director of pro personnel David Ziegler (wide receiver from 1997-01), tight ends coach Nick Caley (defensive back did not play due to injury, but served as student assistant from 2005-06), pro scout Frank Ross (wide receiver from 2006-10), and scouting assistant D.J. Debick (defensive back from 2009-13) all played football at John Carroll University.
Covington is following in the footsteps of Schuplinski, who was named defensive coordinator of John Carroll under then-head coach Tom Arth in December of 2013, but received an offer from the Patriots that same year before holding a single practice.
Oh, and the name of Covington’s high school? John Carroll Catholic High School.
Covington has a fairly active Twitter page, which should be interesting to monitor moving forward.
Congratulations to Covington and welcome to the staff.