Former Florida State defensive ends coach D.J. Eliot is a great pickup for Kentucky as Defensive Coordinator. He currently has no experience running a defense on his own, but that’s ok. He won’t be running it on his own for the Wildcats, at least not at first. This will be Eliot’s third stop working with Stoops as he was a grad assistant under Stoops at Miami.
Elliot was a relative unknown when he came to Florida State. He was coaching defensive ends at Rice, a school that was fresh off a 2-10 season in 2009. Not exactly a place one would think of as having a hot, up-and-coming coach. When Jimbo Fisher hired Mark Stoops to be his new defensive coordinator, Eliot was one of first recommendations to Fisher. Fisher brought Eliot in for an interview and liked him so much that he offered Eliot the job on the spot.
Before being named the defensive ends coach at Florida State he was the defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator for Rice University. Despite coaching at Rice, a school with incredibly high academics which turns them into a low end (bowl eligible once in a while if they’re lucky) Conference USA team who isn’t even first fiddle in their own city, Eliot put together an impressive resume. His defensive lines turned in impressive, for Rice, numbers. He also has experience coaching linebackers from a stop in Tulsa. In one year he had the CUSA player of the year and two other all-conference players come from his linebacker corps.
Eliot isn’t just a good coach who can’t recruit, though. He’s the most valued of all college coaches: young, great coach, and ace recruiter. Eliot recruited chunks of Florida and Georgia for the Seminoles and, because of his strong ties and connections in the state, recruited Texas as well. He is a very personable, high energy guy and relates to both recruits and parents.
Kentucky occasionally gets top end 3-star or even 4-star players and Eliot will do his best to ensure that Kentucky makes in-roads with schools all around the southeast, and maybe even in Texas, and lands as much talent as possible. Even if they have lesser talent you can bet that they will be well coached and technically sound, just like a Mark Stoops trained defensive back.