Kentucky hires new defensive coordinator

State Journal Staff Report, Published:

LEXINGTON – D.J. Eliot, who played a key role in the dramatic defensive turnaround at Florida State under Mark Stoops, has joined Stoops’ Kentucky staff as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, the new UK head coach announced Thursday.

“D.J. is one of the brightest young minds in college football,” said Stoops, who has coached with Eliot at Wyoming, Houston, Miami (Fla.) and FSU.  “He has a relentless work ethic and is extremely detailed.  I’m very pleased he has joined the Big Blue Nation.”

Eliot coached defensive ends the last three seasons at Florida State.  He recently completed his 15th season of collegiate coaching, helping lead FSU to one of the best defensive campaigns in school history en route to an 11-2 record, the championship of the Atlantic Coast Conference and a berth in the 2013 Orange Bowl.

The year before Eliot and Stoops arrived in Tallahassee, the Seminoles ranked 108th in total defense and rushing defense, 58th in quarterback sacks and 61st in tackles for loss nationally. This season, FSU ranks second nationally in total defense (253.8 yards per game), fifth in rushing defense (93 ypg) and seventh in scoring defense (15.1 points per game).  In each of Eliot’s first two years on the job, FSU ranked among the nation’s top 10 teams in sacks and the top 25 in tackles for loss.

 “I’m very excited with the opportunity to coach at Kentucky and continue to work with Coach Stoops,” Eliot said.  “I believe in the potential of UK and look forward to being on this staff.”

A native of Edmond, Okla., Eliot graduated from Wyoming in 1999 with a degree in natural science with a minor in zoology. He earned a master’s degree in education at Houston.  He and his wife, Miekel, have one son, Dawson, and two daughters, Drue and Page.

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