Florida State’s Eliot joins Kentucky’s staff

Kentucky made it officially official on Thursday and named D.J. Eliot the Cats’ new defensive coordinator.

The former Florida State defensive ends also will be responsible for coaching linebackers, according to the release.

“D.J. is one of the brightest young minds in college football,” said new Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops, who has coached with Eliot at Wyoming, Houston, Miami (Fla.) and FSU.  “He has a relentless work ethic and is extremely detailed.”

Eliot, who has coached for 15 seasons, has spent the last three at Florida State, where he helped guide a turnaround of the Seminoles’ defense.

The year before Eliot and Stoops joined the FSU staff, the Seminoles were 108th in total defense nationally. This season, they are second in the country (253.8 yards a game).

Several of Eliot’s players have achieved national prominence, including ACC Defensive Player of the Year Bjoern Werner. His other top players have included Tank Carradine and Brandon Jenkins, who has been sidelined with an injury this season.

Werner and Carradine combined for 24 sacks and 31 tackles for a loss this season.

Eliot and Stoops met at Wyoming, where Stoops coached defensive backs and Eliot was a linebacker, who eventually became a student and graduate assistant at his alma mater.

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

The Edmond, Okla., native is married to Miekel and they have three children, a son, Dawson, and two daughters, Drue and Page.

  • UK punter honored: Kentucky’s Landon Foster was named to the Freshman All-Southeastern Conference Team by the SEC coaches on Thursday. He ranked 27th nationally and eighth in the conference with a season average of 42.9 yards per punt.

About Jennifer Smith

Jen Smith has been a sports writer at the Herald-Leader since 2000, covering everything from high school sports to auto racing to various University of Kentucky sports. A native of Louisville and a graduate of the University of Kentucky (much to the dismay of her Louisville graduate mother and Indiana graduate father), Jen now resides in downtown Lexington with her husband and two young sons. You can follow her on Twitter @jenheraldleader or send her an email at jsmith3@herald-leader.com.
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