AARON WHITECOTTON returns for his second season as the defensive line coach after initially joining the New York Jets as part of Robert Saleh's first staff in 2021. Whitecotton is now in his 10th season as an NFL coach and second a position coach.
In his first season with the Jets, Whitecotton oversaw a deep defensive line group as seven different linemen registered 15+ quarterback pressures, one of nine teams in the league to do so. Among those seven, four registered single-season highs in pressures, including John Franklin-Myers whose 43 pressures were the most by a Jet since 2015. Franklin-Myers, who earned a contract extension during the season, was also one of 11 players in 2021 with multiple games of seven+ QB pressures.
Against the run, all three of the Jets interior defenders with 500+ snaps – Folorunso Fatukasi, Sheldon Rankins and Quinnen Williams – finished in the top 10 league-wide in stuff percentage (defined as tackles made on run plays resulting in no gain or loss). Williams was selected as a Pro Bowl alternate as one of just two players in the league in the top 10 in stop, stuff and sack percentage.
Prior to joining the Jets, Whitecotton worked as the assistant defensive line coach in San Francisco (2020). Despite losing two opening day starters in Week Two, Nick Bosa, the reigning defensive rookie of the year, and Solomon Thomas, the 49ers defense finished fifth in total defense and seventh in rushing defense. Defensive lineman Kerry Hyder started 14 games after logging more than 450 snaps in a season just once in his five previous years in the league as he become one of just 11 defensive linemen with at least 8.0 sacks, 15 quarterback hits and 40 total tackles.
Before his season in San Francisco, Whitecotton spent three seasons with Buffalo, the last two as the assistant defensive line coach. The Bills defense finished second in the league in 2018 and third in 2019 in total defense, combining to allow just 296.2 yards per game, the lowest in the league over that span. From 2018-19, six different defensive linemen totaled at least 5.0+ sacks, five different d-linemen registered 10+ quarterback hits and four recorded 10+ tackles for loss.
Entering the NFL with Jacksonville in 2013, Whitecotton spent three seasons (2013-15) as a defensive assistant working with the defensive line, before serving as an assistant defensive line coach with the Jaguars in 2016. That season, the defense ranked sixth in total defense while a league-high five different defensive linemen each registered six+ tackles for loss. Additionally, rookie defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, a third-round pick, recorded 8.0 sacks (ranked second among all rookies) and four forced fumbles (ranked first).
Beginning his coaching career at his alma mater, Myers Park (NC) HS, Whitecotton served as the defensive coordinator, linebackers and defensive line coach throughout his time at the school (2005-11), before coaching a season as a defensive assistant at New Mexico State (2012).
Whitecotton played center at South Carolina from 2000-01 before transferring to UNC Charlotte, where he earned his undergraduate degree. He and his wife, Heather, have four children, two daughters, Lila James and Lorelei Tyler, and two sons, Jax and Jet.
New York Jets | 2021-Present
Defensive Line - 2021-Present
San Francisco | 49ers 2020
Assistant Defensive Line - 2020
Buffalo Bills | 2017-19
Assistant Defensive Line - 2018-19
Administrative Assistant to the Head Coach - 2017
Jacksonville Jaguars | 2013-16
Assistant Defensive Line - 2016
Defensive Assistant - 2013-15
New Mexico State | 2012
Defensive Assistant - 2012
Myers Park (NC) High School | 2005-11
Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers/Defensive Line - 2005-11
South Carolina (Center) - 2000-01