Since Mark Stoops arrived in Lexington, he hit the ground running to put together a top notch coaching staff. The following are those who have been hired and who those who are being heavily targeted as Stoops looks to begin a new era for the University of Kentucky football program.
December 6: DJ Eliot named Defensive Coordinator
Kentucky officially names former FSU defensive ends coach D.J. Eliot as the team's new defensive coordinator and linebackers coach (per Jennifer Smith, Lexington-Herald Leader).
In addition to his reputation as an excellent recruiter, Eliot was an instrumental part of Stoops ability to turn the FSU defense from one of the worst units in the country into one of the best.
Many of the players Eliot coached also became outstanding contributors, including Bjoern Werner, the 2012 ACC Defensive Player of the Year (per UKAthletics.com).
While Eliot definitely looks like an very promising young coaching star, it is a bit sad/worrisome that Kentucky linebacker coach Chuck Smith was let go. Smith was responsible for helping to produce many of Kentucky's great linebackers since the Rich Brooks era (Wesley Woodyard, Micah Johnson, Danny Trevathan, etc).
Smith is being replaced by someone who will not be able to focus solely on coaching the linebacker position due to his duties coordinating and planning for the entire defense.
Still, this looks like an excellent hire overall, especially considering a defensive minded coach like Stoops trust Eliot enough to run his team's defense and coach the linebackers.
December 8: Bradley Dale Peveto hired as UK Safeties Coach
Patrick Netheron, who is the play-by-play man for Northwestern State University in Louisiana, announced that their former head coach, Bradley Dale Peveto, had taken a job as the safeties coach at the University of Kentucky.
In addition to the benefit of having a former head coach on staff, UK is also getting someone who was on staff at LSU when they won a national championship in 2007. Having a veteran coaching presence that knows what it takes to win in the SEC is a fantastic addition to the staff of a first time head coach.
December 9: Darin Hinshaw rumored to be new Kentucky WR coach
University of Tennessee wide receivers coach Darin Hinshaw, who has an excellent reputation as a recruiter and for developing talent, is strongly rumored to have accepted the same position with the University of Kentucky.
According to John Clay at the Lexington Herald-Leader, nothing has been confirmed by either school, but it is very likely that this is a done deal.
December 9: Neal Brown to meet with Stoops about OC position
Texas Tech offensive coordinator Neil Brown is in Lexington today to meet with Mark Stoops about possibly accepting the offensive coordinator position at the University of Kentucky (per Kristen Geil, KentuckySportsRadio.com).
Brown would arguably be the crown jewel of this coaching staff if he is hired. The Kentucky native (who also played football under Hal Mumme at UK) has turned the Red Raiders into one of the most explosive offenses in the nation.
He's such a good candidate, in fact, that Kentucky's primary competition for Brown's services is Southern Mississippi. Southern Miss is courting him to be their next head coach (per Larry Vaught).
Even if Stoops isn't able to land Brown, he has begun to put together an excellent staff that should be able to get a lot out of Kentucky's (surprising) wealth of young talent next season.
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