UK Media Relations
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.
Werner and Carradine form the top defensive end tandem in the nation with a combined 24 sacks and 31 total tackles for loss. In 2011, Jenkins, Werner and Carradine combined for 20.5 sacks and 31 TFL while helping limit opponents to just 2.35 yards per carry, which led the nation in that category. All three players are projected as high picks in the NFL Draft. In Eliot’s first season at Florida State, the Seminoles tied for the national lead for most sacks with 48.
Eliot and Stoops first became acquainted at Wyoming, where Stoops coached the defensive backs while Eliot played linebacker for the Cowboys. The two coached together at Wyoming as Eliot was a graduate assistant for his alma mater in 1999.