Jeff Comissiong finished his fourth season at ODU coaching the defensive line.
The ODU defense registered 34 sacks in 2016, the most since the Monarchs joined FBS and tied for second in Conference USA. Of the 34 sacks, 27 came from the defensive front. Defensive ends Oshane Ximines and Bunmi Rotimi combined for 14.5 sacks, with Ximines setting the school single-season record, and Rotimi tying Ronnie Cameron's career record.
Defensive tackle Rashaad Coward finished fourth on the squad with 60 tackles, and had 7.5 tackles for loss, more TFL's than he had in his first three seasons at ODU.
Comissiong led a defensive line that featured one senior while the top two sacks leaders both return up front. Junior Rashaad Coward registered a single-season career-high 47 tackles and 1.5 sacks while sophomore Bunmi Rotimi also notched a career-best with 36 tackles and 4.5 sacks. Redshirt freshman Oshane Ximines led the team with 5.0 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss and was named to the C-USA All-Freshmen team.
The 26 sacks by the defense was the most in a single-season since the Monarchs transition year of 2013 with 17 of the 26 sacks coming from the defensive line. Terrell Reid's sack of Southern Miss quarterback Nick Mullens forced a fumble that linebacker Martez Simpson recovered for a touchdown.
For the second-straight season, Comissiong coached a young group featuring just two seniors and just one player that started every game.
Junior defensive end Andrew Everett started all 12 games for the second-straight season while senior Malik Gumbs started all 12 games while playing just seven games the year before.
Senior Chris Smith led all defensive lineman with 39 tackles while junior college transfer led ODU with 3.5 sacks and he led all defensive lineman with 6.5 tackles for loss.
Barnwell scored ODU's first defensive touchdown since 2010 when he recovered a fumble in the end zone.
Comissiong's defensive line group had just one senior in 2013, captain Nate Barnes, and was led in tackles by sophomore defensive end Andrew Everett and redshirt freshman Terrell Reid.
The Monarchs had 19 sacks on the year and 78 tackles for loss, 34 of which came from defensive linemen.
The ODU defensive line was a young group in 2013, as four true freshmen played a lot of minutes, including Scott Wiggins, Jude Brenya, Rashaad Coward and Kanyia Anderson.
Comissiong spent the last six years as defensive line coach at Boston College as well as having an integral part in special teams. During his tenure at BC, the Eagles led the ACC in rush defense three times and led the country in rush defense in 2010 and finished second in 2007. Comissiong and the Eagles ranked fifth in the country in defense in 2008 and finished 13th in 2010.
"I am honored to be joining the Old Dominion family and the football program. I have followed with great interest the progress that has been made by Old Dominion football from afar and it is truly remarkable. A 38-10 record and the transition to FBS and C-USA in only four years has me even more excited to get started," Comissiong said. "It is obvious to me the program has tremendous support from both the University and the community. Work will begin immediately in helping our student-athletes achieve at the highest level on and off the field."
While at Boston College, Comissiong placed a pair of defensive linemen on the ACC All-Conference team in 2007 and 2008 and defensive linemen B.J. Raji (Green Bay Packers) and Ron Brace (New England Patriots) were taken in the first two rounds of the 2009 NFL Draft. Damik Scafe, another defensive tackle coached by Comissiong at BC, is currently on the roster for the San Diego Chargers.
Before joining BC, Comissiong spent two years at Harvard, helping the Crimson to the No. 1 ranked defense in the Ivy league and also finishing first in sacks while leading the country in tackles for loss and sacks and coming in second in the country in run defense. Prior to his time at Harvard, he rejoined the staff at Maine, coaching the defensive line for five years. Comissiong helped the Black Bears to back-to-back conference championships and advancing to the FCS Quarterfinals in both seasons.
He started his collegiate coaching career at Maine in 1996 and was in charge of the defensive ends for three seasons, helping the defense set a school record 51 sacks in a season while Todd Williamson set the single-season record for sacks in a season with 13. Following his stint at Maine, he joined the staff at Bates College for three years where he was the defensive line coach as well as the strength and conditioning coach.
Comissiong was a four-year letterwinner at linebacker for Maine.
The Comissiong File:
Hometown: St. Thomas, V.I.
Primary: Eastern Pennsylvania (Harrisburg over), New York (New Rochelle down, Five Boroughs, Long Island)
2007 - 2013: Boston College - Defensive Line
2006 - 2007: Harvard - Defensive Line
2002 - 2006: Maine - Defensive Line/Recruiting Coordinator
2000 - 2002: Maine - Running Backs
1998 - 2000: Bates College - Defensive Line/Strength and Conditioning Coordinator
1996 - 1998: Maine - Defensive Ends
"Coach Comissiong had a tremendous year leading our defensive line. This group was No. 2 in C-USA in sacks and had three players receive all-league honors. Jeff developed a strong second group, which is critical in our ability to substitute and keep our guys fresh during games. We improved on defense in the No. 2 defense in the league and the development of our defensive line was the key reason for the improvement. I am confident this group will continue to improve under his leadership."
- Head Coach Bobby Wilder on Coach Comissiong