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Georgia hires Wilson away from Mississippi St.

ATHENS -- Georgia hired Mississippi State defensive coordinator Chris Wilson as its new defensive line coach Wednesday.

The 44-year-old Wilson replaces longtime Georgia assistant Rodney Garner, who took a job at Auburn, his alma mater.

Wilson was hired at Mississippi State in 2010 as the co-defensive coordinator and line coach, then took over as the sole coordinator the last two seasons. He also coached previously at Oklahoma and Colorado.

"Chris is a tremendous teacher, outstanding recruiter, mentor and brings a wealth of knowledge in coaching the defensive line to our program," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "He has an extensive background not only as a position coach but also as a coordinator and is a very solid fit with what we do on defense. "

Mississippi State ranked 16th nationally in scoring defense (19.7 points per game) in 2011, but slipped to 34th this past season (23.3) and struggled down the stretch.

The Bulldogs lost five of their last six games, giving up an average of nearly 34 points. They closed the regular season with a 41-24 loss to rival Mississippi and fell to Northwestern 34-20 in the Gator Bowl.

So, Wilson is moving to Athens.

"Our family is excited to have the opportunity of coaching at one of the top institutions in college football," he said in a statement. "I'm looking forward to being part of the Georgia program and putting all our energy and effort into winning games and championships, which I know is the goal of all those in the Georgia football family."