According to several reports on Wednesday, the Colorado Buffaloes are close to hiring Kentucky’s D.J. Eliot as their new defensive coordinator.
A source at CU confirmed to BuffZone.com that the school is talking with Eliot, but that a deal has not been finalized.
FootballScoop.com was the first to report Eliot’s move to CU from Kentucky, where he has been the defensive coordinator the past four seasons. He has also coached the Wildcats’ outside linebackers.
This past season, Eliot, 40, helped the Wildcats (7-6) to their first bowl appearance since 2010 and their first winning season since 2009. They lost to Georgia Tech, 33-18, in the Taxslayer Bowl.
According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops took over defensive play-calling duties after the Wildcats gave up 1,084 yards and 89 points in a 0-2 start to the 2016 season, losing to Southern Mississippi and Florida.
Overall, Kentucky ranked 86th nationally in scoring defense (31.3 points per game) and 85th in total defense (434.2 yards per game). The Wildcats ranked 92nd in sacks, with 21.
Eliot’s best season at Kentucky came in 2015, when the Wildcats ranked 68th in scoring defense (allowing 27.4 points per game) and 59th in total defense (394.2 yards per game).
In 2014, the Wildcats had a school-record for defensive touchdowns, scoring on six of the 23 turnovers they forced.
A graduate of Wyoming, Eliot played linebacker for the Cowboys. His wife, Miekel, is from Westminster. The couple has four children.
Eliot began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Wyoming in 1999, working with Stoops, who coached defensive backs. As a graduate assistant, Eliot also worked with Stoops at Houston (2000-01) and Miami (2002).
Eliot’s first full-time coaching job came at Texas State, where he coached defensive backs in 2003 and linebackers in 2004-05. He then coached linebackers at Tulsa in 2006 and defensive linemen at Rice from 2007-09. He also served as recruiting coordinator at Rice.
From 2010-12, Eliot coached defensive ends at Florida State, where he once again worked under Stoops, who was the Seminoles’ defensive coordinator.
CU is looking to replace Jim Leavitt, who spent two years as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach before leaving for the same position at Oregon last month.
In addition to hiring a defensive coordinator, the Buffs are looking for a new cornerbacks coach, as Charles Clark followed Leavitt to Oregon.
Brian Howell: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.