Indiana assistant Ekeler leaves for USC

Indiana lost a key piece of its coaching staff Friday as co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Mike Ekeler left for a position at USC.

Hoosiers head coach Kevin Wilson confirmed Ekeler's departure on his Twitter page, calling Ekeler "an excellent coach" and wishing him good luck with the Trojans. Ekeler will reportedly coach linebackers at USC.

He joined Wilson's staff at IU after serving as Nebraska's linebackers coach from 2008-2010. Although the Hoosiers' defense is still struggling, Ekeler helped spearhead recruiting, which has picked up significantly on the defensive side. He's a young, dynamic coach and a good addition for Lane Kiffin's new-look staff in Los Angeles.

Wilson tweeted that Indiana "will take our time to find the best fit" from "a strong pool of candidates." He could make Doug Mallory the sole defensive coordinator -- Mallory also serves as assistant head coach -- or continue to go with co-coordinators depending on the next hire.

Ekeler is a big loss, though, especially on the recruiting trail.