STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) -Mississippi State defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson is leaving the Bulldogs to take the same position for new Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino.
Mississippi State coach Sylvester Croom said Monday in a statement that Johnson had informed him of the decision to leave. No announcement had made by Arkansas.
Arkansas hired Petrino earlier this month to replace Houston Nutt. Defensive coordinator Reggie Herring is the Razorbacks' interim coach, leading the team into the Cotton Bowl against Missouri on Tuesday.
Johnson joined the Mississippi State coaching staff after three seasons as the head coach at The Citadel.
``We feel that we have done everything possible to keep Ellis here, but he indicated to me that his decision was in his family's best interest,'' Croom said. ``Ellis has been a big part of our success and we wish him well in the future, but we will move quickly to hire a replacement.''
The Bulldogs went 8-5 this season and reached a bowl for the first time since 2000 behind a defense that ranked fifth in the Southeastern Conference.
Johnson has also served as defensive coordinator at Alabama (1997-2000).

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