Texas A&M to hire Mike Elko: Aggies bring back former defensive boss after successful run at Duke, per report

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Texas A&M Ready to hire. Duke’s Many reports have Mike Elko as the next football coach. Elko emerged as the top pick a day after a deal was finalized between the Aggies and Kentucky’s Mark Stoops.

Elko, 46, quickly became a favorite among the Texas A&M faithful after having tremendous success with the Aggies as defensive coordinator under former coach Jimbo Fisher. He came to Texas A&M after successful stints against Wake Forest and Notre Dame as part of Fisher’s first staff in 2018. Under his watch, the Aggies’ defense ranked among the best in the country, especially against the run.

During his tenure as defensive coordinator, Texas A&M went 34-14, culminating in a 9-1 Orange Bowl campaign in 2020. The Aggies started their recruiting run on a high note, especially when it came to locking up the top prospects on the field. Defensive side of the ball.

Longtime defensive coordinator He left to take over Duke in 2022. In his first season, Elko led the Blue Devils to an impressive 9-4 campaign, their best mark since 2014. Dealing with major issues in the quarter.

After Elko decommitted from Texas A&M, the Aggies went just 12-12 over the next two seasons. Fisher was fired earlier this month for the sixth time in 10 games of the season. Elko is now tasked with leading Texas A&M into SEC contention as the league prepares to add Texas and Oklahoma in the 2024 season.

Texas A&M interim coach Elias Robinson, Elko’s first defensive hire away from Baylor, is expected to remain on Elko’s staff with the Aggies. Several players have publicly expressed their support for Robinson to get the full-time job.

Maintaining a list of names

Texas A&M has been ranked as high as No. 4 in 247Sports in elite recruiting over the past several years. Group talent composition. Hiring Elko and keeping Robinson is a straightforward attempt to try and keep one of the most talented rosters in Texas A&M history.

Star wide receiver Evan Stewart, a former five-star recruit, traveled with the team and did not play against LSU. Wide receiver Raymond Cottrell officially enters the portal and is ranked No. 3 overall player. If things are not handled properly, more players may go to the portal. Elko is a safe bet to salvage this talent and field a strong team in 2024 as he begins his quest to lead the Aggies to prominence in an expanded SEC.

Leaning on the material

Texas A&M was approached by several high-profile candidates during the search, but ultimately decided to stick with Flash. Good news? Texas A&M has had success with a similar plan in the past.

In the year He became the most successful coach in modern program history. Slocum’s winning percentage of 72.2% was the best since Dana X Bible in 1928 when he won four conference championships in 14 years. The Aggies haven’t won a conference crown since.

Key assistants

One of the biggest hurdles for a defensive coordinator to become a head coach is ignoring the offense. Elko quickly dismissed that threat, hiring well-regarded offensive coordinator Kevin Jones from Memphis to run Duke’s offense. The Blue Devils averaged nearly 28 points per game despite playing backup quarterbacks for half the season.

Elko will have an open checkbook to rally the workers, especially considering it should come through a relative bargain. According to tax filings, Elko earned just $3.5 million after signing a contract extension at Duke through 2029. The Aggies could double his salary and still part with the top picks on the market.

A handful of former Texas A&M assistants followed Elko to Duke, including defensive coordinator Tyler Santucci and cornerbacks coach Ismael Aristide. Elko will have to weigh bringing the band back together in anticipation of proven SEC qualifications on their starting staff.

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