Lynn, who was in his first season as the Bruins' defensive coordinator, led a unit that was the best in the Pac-12 and one of the 20 best in the nation, including the second best at limiting the run (69.58 YPG). UCLA also finished eighth nationally in yards allowed per play (4.55).
Prior to coaching at UCLA, Lynn had ample NFL experience as a defensive assistant with the Bills, Chargers, Texans and Ravens before becoming Baltimore's safeties coach in 2021. Lynn, who is the son of former Chargers coach and current 49ers assistant Anthony Lynn, is only 34 years old, but his work with UCLA's defense this season made him a hot name among coaching circles.
"We are thrilled to welcome D'Anton and his family to USC," Trojans coach Lincoln Riley said. "We simply couldn't ask for a better addition to our staff. His successful experiences in both college and the NFL make him the perfect fit for our program."
In November, Riley fired defensive coordinator Alex Grinch following USC's loss to Washington that bookended a two-game stretch in which the Trojans allowed 101 total points.
Grinch, who was Oklahoma's defensive coordinator from 2019 to 2021 before leaving for USC alongside Riley, led a unit that allowed an average of 34.5 points per game this season and was in the bottom 30 in the country in nearly every statistical category, including 120th in rushing defense and 107th against the pass at that point of the season.
Even going back to last season, when USC finished the year allowing 47 points to Utah in the Pac-12 title game loss and 46 points to Tulane in the Cotton Bowl defeat, Grinch had been the subject of much criticism. Riley publicly stood by him until results were far too poor to ignore.
While USC was linked to various candidates, including Nebraska's Tony White -- who was retained and given a raise, the school announced Friday -- Riley landed on a crosstown foe for his hire. Lynn now will be tasked with turning around USC's defense, which was a big part of the Trojans' struggles in their disappointing 7-5 campaign.
While Lynn has limited experience as a defensive coordinator, his one-year track record is stellar. The Bruins were one of only 11 teams this season to allow fewer than 300 yards per game.
Lynn's hire is expected to prompt a revamping of USC's defensive staff as the Trojans head to the Big Ten next season.