What may have been the worst-kept secret in the UK coaching search, the school has announced that former Florida State defensive ends coach D.J. Elliot will now serve as the new defensive coordinator at UK.
In UK’s release, new head coach Mark Stoops described Eliot as “one of the brightest young minds in college football,” and that he has “relentless work ethic and is extremely detailed. I’m very pleased he has joined the Big Blue Nation.”
Curiously, Eliot was also named the linebackers coach, leading to speculation that current LB coach Chuck Smith will not be on the staff next season. Prior to this season, Smith had produced an All-SEC linebacker every season since 200, including Danny Trevathan, the first first-team All-America linebacker in Kentucky history. He also had the league’s leading tackler four of the last six seasons. I was hoping that he would be one of the holdovers that Stoops might keep on his staff, but that appears unlikely at this point.
Alas, in his departure, UK gains a very dedicated coach, and Eliot has wasted no time in making an impact at Kentucky, as he’s already hit the recruiting trail and made his way to Franklin County to see 4* WR/RB Ryan Timmons, who is one of the top in-state talents and has UK as one of his finalists. Eliot is also reportedly heading to Louisville to see Trinity WR James Quick, who is nationally regarded as one of the top receiver prospects.
Make no mistake about it: because UK was able to name it’s head coach before the first week of December, they now have ample time to hit the recruiting trail hard, evaluate the best prospects suited for UK, and reel in a solid first class that will be the foundation of Mark Stoops’ tenure at the University of Kentucky.