Mississippi State has made it official: Zach Arnett is the new defensive coordinator of the Bulldogs, joining Mike Leach’s staff.

“Zach is one of the brightest defensive coaches in all of college football,” Leach said in MSU’s announcement. “Having been mentored by Rocky Long during his successful time at San Diego State, Zach understands what it takes to build and run an elite defense. We are excited to welcome Zach, Emily, Case and Collins to Starkville.”

It’s the second time this month Arnett has accepted a new job. The former San Diego State defensive coordinator took the same position at Syracuse earlier this month.

I couldn’t pass up the chance to join an SEC program like Mississippi State,” Arnett said in the announcement. “I am grateful to Coach Leach and [Director of Athletics] John Cohen for the opportunity to be a part of this first-class institution. Mississippi State has a history of great defenses. The staff Coach Leach has assembled is tremendous, and I can’t wait to get down there and get to work.”

It’s easy to see why Arnett drew interest from Power 5 programs. Arnett led a 2019 San Diego State defense that ranked in the top-10 nationally in seven categories. The Aztecs finished second in rushing defense (75.4 yards per game), third in scoring defense (12.7 points per game), fourth in interceptions (18), fourth in first downs allowed (198), sixth in total defense (287.8), sixth in passing efficiency defense (110.25) and eighth in takeaways (27). The 33-year-old was recently selected as a member of the prestigious AFCA 35 Under 35 Coaches Leadership Institute.