The coaching carousel has been swinging wildly in college football, and with things heating up in the ACC on Monday, Duke football appears to be getting closer to making a decision on its vacancy. Having already parted ways with David Cutcliffe in November, the Blue Devils are casting a net that's reached the ranks of the NFL as Duke is showing interest in a familiar face.
George Edwards, who currently serves as a senior defensive assistant for the Dallas Cowboys, has emerged as a lead candidate to take over for Cutcliff at Duke, sources tell CBS Sports. A former four-year letterman of the Blue Devils who later served as an assistant in 1996, the interest is likely mutual, but time will tell whether Duke can pry Edwards away from the pro ranks and a defense that is currently ranked among the top five in the NFL.
From the perspective of the Cowboys, this isn't a unique situation. In 2020, they went to bat against Boise State as the Broncos attempted to peel away offensive coordinator Kellen Moore -- a record-setting quarterback in his time at BSU -- to become their next coach. Owner Jerry Jones instead whipped out his bottomless checkbook and made Moore an offer he couldn't refuse, one that was attached to a three-year contract extension to keep him in Dallas.
Edwards was once responsible for leading a perennially top-10 defense for the Minnesota Vikings under Mike Zimmer and was a 2020 frontrunner to land the defensive coordinator job in Dallas before the Cowboys pivoted to Dan Quinn and subsequently awarded Edwards a bigger role in Quinn's staff, one that involves hands-on coaching of a linebacker corps led by rookie phenom Micah Parsons. The 54-year-old also garnered interest last year from the Chicago Bears, who hoped he'd consider taking on the role of defensive coordinator in the Windy City, but it was not to be.
As one of the more respected defensive minds in football, who has a resume to back it up, Edwards would seem like a no-brainer if the Blue Devils zero in on him as the man who can take his alma mater to the next level. Duke floundered to a 3-9 overall record this season and finished 0-8 in ACC play.
The next hire needs to be a home run to replace Cutcliffe, who finished 77-97 (35-79 ACC) over 14 seasons but had four years in which he won eight or more games at Duke.