South Carolina football fans thought yesterday that a couple of their biggest rivals could be without a head coach soon as both Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and Kentucky’s Mark Stoops had their names pop up in regard to the Texas A&M job (Stoops ended up being very close to being the man for the job in College Station).
However, this shifted rapidly late last night. Swinney’s name disappeared from discussions, and Stoops and/or A&M had a change of heart about his fit with the Aggies.
Today, according to a report from ESPN’s Pete Thamel, Texas A&M made their next head coaching hire when they brought in Duke head coach Mike Elko to take over for the recently-fired Jimbo Fisher.
Elko was a defensive coordinator from 2006-2021, including a three-year stint on the job at Texas A&M. After two seasons leading the Blue Devil program, he is returning to A&M. His first game on the job will be against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, a group he led as defensive coordinator back in 2017.
Another report from Thamel came out on Sunday indicating that Mississippi State had found its next head coach, as well.
The Bulldogs have hired Oklahoma offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby and signed him to a 5-year contract. Lebby is known as one of the top offensive minds in college football and hails from the Art Briles coaching tree (Briles is his father-in-law).
Lebby worked at Baylor under Briles before moving on to other gigs after the scandal in Waco. His most recent gigs were offensive coordinator jobs at UCF under now-Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel, at Ole Miss under Lane Kiffin, and at Oklahoma under Brent Venables.
With divisions going away in the SEC in 2024, Mississippi State will not face Lebby’s former Oklahoma squad. However, Lebby will match wits with Mike Elko and the Texas A&M Aggies next fall.
There was previously some mild reporting that South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer could be in play for Mississippi State, but that notion was shot down quickly by the Gamecock headman. USC will face Elko and the Aggies next season but does not have Lebby’s Bulldogs on the 2024 schedule.