Deshea Townsend
Position: Assistant Coach
Other Position: Cornerbacks
Hometown: Batesville, MS
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Third Season at MSU

With over 20 years playing elite-level football, Deshea Townsend begins his third season as cornerbacks coach at Mississippi State after a successful NFL career.  

The Mississippi-bred Townsend returned home to make his collegiate coaching debut as cornerbacks coach prior to the 2013 season. It was his first full-time coaching position after two seasons as a member of the Arizona Cardinals staff. In 2010, he finished a 13-year All-Pro NFL career where he won two Super Bowls.

Despite a rash of injuries in the secondary in 2014, the Bulldogs led the nation in passes broken up (73), passes defended (89), passes defended per game (6.85), and they were third in the Southeastern Conference and 15th nationally in interceptions with 15. In Townsend’s second year as a collegiate coach, MSU achieved a number of firsts, including winning 10 regular season games and spending five straight weeks atop the national polls.  

Townsend has turned veterans Taveze Calhoun and Will Redmond into lockdown corners. They promise to be one of the SEC’s top tandems in 2015. Redmond has been projected as one of the top future pro cornerback prospects heading into the fall.

In 2013, Townsend spearheaded one of the top cornerback units in the SEC. The Bulldogs ranked fifth in the league in passing defense, allowing 205.2 yards through the air. In addition, MSU was one of only three SEC schools to feature three players in the league’s top eight in interceptions. Starters Jamerson Love and Calhoun registered three picks apiece.  

Prior to joining the MSU staff, Townsend served two seasons as an assistant defensive backs coach under Louie Cioffi with the Arizona Cardinals.

Townsend was a decorated football player as he played at an elite level each step of the way. As a 13-year pro cornerback, Townsend played in nearly 191 games, starting 80. He racked up 428 tackles (359 solo), 21 interceptions, 15.5 sacks, five fumble recoveries, four forced fumbles and three defensive touchdowns.

As a 12-year member of the prestigious Pittsburgh Steeler defense, Townsend started seven games in the postseason, playing in 14 total. He made 42 tackles with two interceptions on his way to garnering two championship rings in Super Bowls XL and XLIII.

Townsend made trips to Davis Wade Stadium as a collegiate corner but not in Maroon and White. The Mississippi-native was a four-year starter (1994-97) for Alabama, earning first-team All-SEC honors at corner in 1996. After a stellar career in the SEC, Townsend was drafted in the fourth round (117th overall) by Pittsburgh in the 1998 NFL Draft.

Born and raised not far from Starkville in Batesville, Miss., Townsend was a member of national-power South Panola High School, helping put the program on the map. He accumulated 1,800 yards with 18 touchdowns offensively while leading the Tigers to the 5A state championship game during his senior season in 1992.

Coaching Experience
2013-present: Mississippi State (Cornerbacks)
2011-12: Arizona Cardinals [NFL] (Assistant Defensive Backs Coach)

Bowl Games as a Coach
2014: Orange Bowl (MSU)
2013: Liberty Bowl (MSU) 

Personal Information
Birthdate: Sept. 8, 1975
Hometown: Batesville, Miss.
Education: 1997 – Bachelor’s from Alabama

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