Coaching Profile: Kentucky Defensive Coordinator D.J. Eliot




As we await to see who new Head Coach Mark Stoops will name to his staff, the one hire he has already made official is Florida State defensive ends coach D.J. Eliot, who has accepted the defensive coordinator job. He was also named the linebackers coach. Eliot has worked the last three seasons with Mark Stoops at FSU. He is 36, and in his 14th season coaching college football.

Before Elliot made his way to FSU to  join Jimbo Fisher’s staff, he served as the defensive line & recruiting coordinator at Rice for three seasons and has recutinig ties to Texas and Florida. Here’s a brief excerpt from his bio on


Eliot has already made his mark, tutoring the players who have helped return FSU to its place among programs with elite pass rushers. Brandon Jenkins, Bjoern Werner and Cornellius Carradine became one of the top defensive end trios in 2011 combining for 20.5 sacks, 31 tackles for loss, 14 quarterback hurries and nine pass breakups. For the second consecutive season, the Seminoles ranked among the top 10 national leaders in both sacks and tackles for loss. Eliot’s defensive ends accounted for 51 percent of the team’s sacks and 36 percent of the tackles for loss. FSU allowed its opponents to run for an average of just 2.35 yards per carry, which led the nation. The Seminoles ranked fourth nationally in total defense (275.0), second in rushing defense (82.69), fourth in scoring defense (15.1), eighth in tackles for loss (8.62) and tied for eighth in sacks (3.08 per game).


When Eliot was hired at FSU, the Orlando Sentinel had an in-depth story on how he got the job at FSU, and these were the recruiting responsibilities he was given, which will likely be his responsibilities at Kentucky:


Eliot’s recruiting responsibility goes like this: He has central Florida, north and west of Orlando. He has southeast Georgia. And upwards to around parts of Atlanta. Nationally,  he’ll be responsible for Texas. In fact, he has a lot of experience recruiting Texas, which he said is an advantage for him. He knows the high school programs and coaches well out that way. And even when he was coaching at Tulsa earlier in his career, he heavily recruited Texas.


Here’s his history as a collegiate coach

Year School Position W-L Postseason
1998 Wyoming SA 8-3
1999 Wyoming GA 7-4
2000 Houston GA 3-8
2001 Houston GA 0-11
2002 Miami (Fla.) GA 12-1 Fiesta
2003 Texas State DB 4-8
2004 Texas State LB 5-6
2005 Texas State LB 11-3 NCAA I-AA
2006 Tulsa LB 8-5 Arned Forces
2007 Rice RC/DL 3-9
2008 Rice RC/DL 10-3 Texas
2009 Rice RC/DL 2-10
2010 Florida State DE 10-4 Chick-fil-A
2011 Florida State DE 9-4 Champs Sports

Note: GA=Graduate Assistant RC= Recruiting Coordinator DL=Defensive Line Coach


What stands out is that while Eliot is the defensive ends coach, he was a linebacker in college, and has coached linebackers and defensive backs in college, meaning he has a thorough understanding of every defensive position. Too often coaches are given the title of defensive coordinator having only coached one position primarily, but that won’t be the case with Eliot.

It’s also worth noting that Eliot served as a recruiting coordinator, and with that also being an open position at UK right now, if Stoops doesn’t find someone he believs is worthy of that tile at UK, he may go ahead and gibe Eliot that position as well.




Tags: D.J. Elliot Kentucky Wildcats Football Mark Stoops

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