The Panthers have seen extensive staff turnover this season. A handful of Matt Rhule‘s assistants are no longer with the team. Former nose tackle Terrance Knighton represents the latest departure.
Hired as Nebraska’s head coach late last week, Rhule is bringing Knighton along to be the Cornhuskers’ defensive line coach, Joe Person of The Athletic tweets. Added as Carolina’s assistant D-line coach last year, Knighton had been helping Don Johnson helm the unit since interim HC Steve Wilks fired D-line coach Paul Pasqualoni earlier this month.
Knighton’s Charlotte departure is effective immediately. In addition to firing Rhule, the Panthers axed DC Phil Snow, Pasqualoni and cornerbacks coach Evan Cooper. Rhule has also added Cooper to his Cornhuskers staff, according to ESPN.com’s Pete Thamel (on Twitter). The Panthers are also losing assistant strength and conditioning coach Corey Campbell to Nebraska, per Person. Considering the likely staff turnover for the Panthers in 2023, it is unsurprising to see ex-Rhule staffers opt for more security now.
A 2009 Jaguars third-round pick who was a starter on the Broncos’ Super Bowl XLVIII team, Knighton hung up his cleats in 2017. “Pot Roast” has been in coaching since taking over as Wagner’s D-line coach in 2019. Rhule brought him to Carolina in 2021. Like several of Rhule’s Panthers acquisitions, Knighton is a Temple alum. While Knighton did not play under Rhule at the then-Big East program, Rhule was an Owls assistant at the time.
Part of Rhule’s staffs at Temple and Baylor, Cooper joined the Panthers in 2020. That marked his first NFL job. The DBs coach will head back to the college ranks. Rhule’s Nebraska hiring will take the Panthers off the book for the bulk of the $34MM remaining on his contract.