Report: Two big name SEC defensive coordinators being courted by the Cincinnati Bengals
Some star coaches could be headed to the pros
National Signing Day just wrapped up, and some assistant coaches might be on the move after signing high school players to National Letters of Intent. Two of those coaches in the running for a jump to the NFL are Florida defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and Texas A&M defensive coordinator Mike Elko.
According to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, Grantham and Elko are drawing interest from the Cincinnati Bengals and first-year coach Zac Taylor.
Let's be clear right out of the gate: this doesn't necessarily mean either Grantham or Elko will actually interview for the job, but that they are drawing the attention of the Bengals' new regime. If either gets the job, it'd be a huge blow to their respective college program.
Grantham has been a college coordinator since 2010, and has evolved into one of the best in the country. After a few speed bumps at Georgia from 2010-13, he took over a Louisville program and found immediate success. The Cardinals finished second in the ACC in total defense in 2014 with 308.5 yards per game, and third in 2015 and 2016, with 332.8 and 322.2, respectively.
After his time with the Cardinals, he moved to Mississippi State under then-coach Dan Mullen. The Bulldogs didn't exactly shine in terms of defensive yards per game and yards per play, but did manage to finish fourth in the SEC in sacks per game in 2017 with 2.77.
He moved with Mullen to Florida in 2018, and produced a defense that gave up 343.3 yards per game and helped a team with a hit-or-miss offense to a win in a New Year's Six bowl and 10-3 record.
Elko's defense with the Aggies transformed into a force in his first season in 2018. Teams have to stop the run to be successful, and the Aggies did that at an extremely high level. They gave up just 95.23 rushing yards per game, which was the third-best mark in the country. His Notre Dame defense gave up just 3.97 yards per carry in 2017, and gave up just nine rushing touchdown all year -- tied for seventh in the country. His defense gave up just 3.82 yards per attempt at Wake Forest in 2016, which was a big reason why he got the job on Brian Kelly's staff that offseason.
It is unknown whether Grantham or Elko have reciprocated the Bengals interest.
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