Kentucky made a strong push to keep Derrick Ansley this offseason, but it's all for naught.
Ansley will leave UK to join Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide, according to a report from the Alabama Rivals.com affiliate. The move would come less than a week after National Signing Day.
This would be a big loss as Ansley has been one of UK's best recruiters. He's been key in the recruitments of Jordan Griffin, Davonte Robinson, Ja’Quize Cross and Marcus Walker among others.
Ansley, who's served as a secondary coach since originally joining Mark Stoops' staff in 2013, was promoted to serve as the Cats' co-defensive coordinator. After coaching the cornerbacks from 2013-14, Ansley guided the entire Wildcat secondary during the 2015 season.
UK's secondary has improved every year with the help of Ansley, going from 64th nationally in pass defense in 2013 to 44th in 2014 and 32nd this season. UK also went from 85th nationally in passing touchdowns allowed (22 scores) in 2014 to 28th (14 scores) this season.
Following Ansley’s promotion, Stoops expressed how happy he was to see one of his top assistants staying in Lexington.
"Derrick has done a great job," Stoops said. "Just like you see someone on offense being named passing game coordinator, Derrick handles a lot on that side of the ball. This is to reward him for the work that he has done and to continue to give him more responsibility. He's earned that."
You can't blame Ansley though for returning to a program where he'll annually be in the national title hunt. He was a defensive graduate assistant coach under Kirby Smart with Alabama in 2010-11, helping the Crimson Tide to a 22-4 record, including the 2011 national championship season.
It's final, at least the leaving Kentucky part:
Football spokesman confirmed that Kentucky has received letter of resignation from co-defensive coordinator Derrick Ansley.— Jen Smith (@jenheraldleader) February 8, 2016
There is no job posted on the UK jobs web site yet, but I imagine it will be sometime in the next 24 hours.— Jen Smith (@jenheraldleader) February 8, 2016
So now begins the search for a new secondary coach, which will not be Ed Reed.