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Michigan State Football: Travares Tillman promoted to cornerbacks coach

Photo Courtesy of Michigan State Athletics

Michigan State Spartans head coach Mel Tucker is promoting from within the program once again as Travares Tillman has been named as MSU’s new cornerbacks coach.

Tillman served as a senior defensive assistant for the Spartans in 2020. With safeties coach Mike Tressel officially being named defensive coordinator for Cincinnati, a spot opened up on the Michigan State coaching staff, and Tillman has earned the role.

Here is what Tucker had to say about Tillman’s promotion, via press release:

“Travares is an excellent defensive backs coach who has played and coached at the highest levels of football,” Tucker said. “He played seven seasons in the NFL and has coached in the College Football Playoff. I was impressed with Travares when he was on our defensive staff at Georgia and have been working with him ever since. He connects with the players and will be dynamic and relentless on the recruiting trail. Travares has already spent one season on our staff here at MSU, so he understands our culture and what we’re doing from a schematic perspective. He possesses the traits and skills we’re looking for on our defensive staff.”

With Tillman’s promotion, Harlon Barnett, who is entering his 13th season overall at Michigan State and second under Tucker, will transition to the role of secondary coach, now overseeing the entire defensive backfield.

Prior to coming to East Lansing, Tillman worked under Tucker at Colorado as defensive backs coach. He also worked with Tucker at Georgia from 2016 through 2018 while Tucker served as defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach for the Bulldogs. During that stint, Tillman was a graduate assistant with the defensive backs for the first two years before transitioning into a quality control role with the defense for the 2018 season.

In 2013, Tillman was a recipient of the NFL’s Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship. He spent that summer working with the defensive backs at training camp with the Philadelphia Eagles under then-head coach Chip Kelly.

Tillman was a second-round draft pick out of Georgia Tech by the Buffalo Bills in 2000. He played seven seasons in the NFL as a defensive back, including with the Bills, Houston Texans, Carolina Panthers and Miami Dolphins.

Overall, Tillman has nine years of coaching experience, including five seasons at the FBS level. He started his coaching career at the Calvary Day School in Savannah, Georgia. There, he served as the defensive backs coach and head track coach from 2012 through 2015.

This is the second coaching promotion within the program in as many days, as offensive line coach/run game coordinator Chris Kapilovic was promoted to assistant head coach yesterday.