Is he gone or not? That is the big question surrounding Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott right now.
There have been no shortage of rumors surrounding Elliott since even before the season ended. Today has been no different.
As of Sunday it sounds like there’s been no official contact between the two parties but it has been suggested that the Tennessee job is his if he wants it. Keep in mind there are ways to guage a coaches interest without officially contacting them.
Elliott, a former wide receiver at Clemson, has now been a member of Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney’s staff since 2011. He started out as running backs coach and then was promoted to co-offensive coordinator after the 2014 season. After Jeff Scott’s exit last year to take the head coaching position at South Florida, Elliott assumed full control of the offense.
However, Elliott may not be the top candidate that many are making him out to be. The Vols are reportedly hoping to land someone more established. Minnesota’s PJ Fleck is another name being tossed around.
Would Elliott even consider this the right opportunity. That’s what he’s always maintained it would take for him to leave Clemson, but only he knows what the right opportunity is. It is an SEC job with decent facilities, a rabid fan base, and most importantly money.
Tennessee recently fired head coach Jeremy Pruitt and their athletic director Phillip Fulmer resigned, although probably not willingly. They have allegedly committed a multitude of Level-1 and Level-2 violations. One of those includes handing out cash to recruits.
Danny White has been brought in as the new Athletic Director and has made no secret about wanting an offensive minded coach. He and Elliott do have some ties to one another that go back to White’s days as AD at UCF.
At the end of the day it’s fair to wonder if Elliott would want to take on such a huge undertaking as a first time head coach. Not only are the Vols likely looking at some very severe sanctions, half of their fan base seems to think Elliott is somehow beneath them. That he’s not worthy of the job.
The entire situation seems like it’s a little toxic. At least on the surface. Although, Elliott is considered one of the brightest young minds in the sport. No matter who decides to take on the challenge of rebuilding the Tennessee program, it’s going to be a complete rebuild.
Elliott is no doubt capable of pulling off the feat, but it will take time, especially considering Tennessee is probably going to get hammered by the NCAA. The chances of the next coach getting that kind of time aren’t very high. And Elliott, or any coach the Vols target has to know that going in.