Mike Elko built one of the top defenses in the country over the past four seasons at Texas A&M, and despite head coaching interest from other schools multiple times in previous offseasons, the Aggies were always able to do what it took to retain him. But it appears that Elko’s chance to be the head man has finally come, as he has reported accepted the head coach job at Duke. This means the Aggies will be without their longtime DC for the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl, where they are currently a 7-point favorite* over Wake Forest, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
Duke has hired Texas A&M defensive coordinator Mike Elko as Blue Devils’ coach, according to Duke senior AD Art Chase— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) December 11, 2021
The A&M defense improved each year under Elko, going from No. 47 in scoring defense in 2018, then to No. 36 in 2019, No. 28 in 2020, and No. 3 in 2021. His departure marks the first time that Jimbo Fisher will have to hire a new coordinator since he first arrived in Aggieland four years ago, but with the resources that A&M has salary-wise, and the players the new DC will get to coach (both on campus and in the upcoming recruiting class), A&M should have no problem finding interested parties.
Speaking of recruiting, an inevitable aspect of a coaching departure is the impact on players in the upcoming recruiting class, especially with Signing Day less than a week away. A big part of that will come down to not just Elko’s departure, but also which other defensive staff members come with him. The Aggies will likely try to keep the staff intact as much as possible for that very reason.
*Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.