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D.J. Eliot leaving Kentucky Football to join Colorado staff

Kentucky needs a new defensive coordinator, which really has been true since 2013.

NCAA Football: UL Lafayette at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

D.J. Eliot is finally leaving Lexington.

According to, Eliot has taken a job with the Colorado Buffaloes.

Eliot, who has been the Kentucky Wildcats’ defensive coordinator since 2013, was stripped of his play-calling duties after two games this year by Mark Stoops, who took over calling the defense.

The former Florida State defensive line coach came over with Stoops back in 2013 before be named defensive coordinator at UK, a move that would prove costly. Eliot’s defense was among the nation’s worst every year under his watch.

That was painfully evident to start this season when UK allowed 44 points in a home loss to Southern Miss, followed by 45 points to Florida in a blowout loss in Gainesville the following week.

Stoops then began taking on a bigger role in the defense before eventually taking on all of the play-calling duties. His defense showed significant improvement as the season wore on, and it was clear Eliot’s job was no longer safe going forward.

Seeing Eliot be able to make a lateral move and land on his feet elsewhere is great to see for him. Hopefully he finds more success with the Buffs, something he just wasn’t going to have in the SEC.

As for the next defensive coordinator will be, my guess is Matt House eventually gets promoted to that role, but I do expect Stoops to try and lure a big-name guy to Lexington. He’s taken that approach with most of his hires, such as trying to hire Ed Reed as the secondary coach last year.

It’s hard to say who Stoops will go after, but I expect him to at least swing for the fences while searching for a new coordinator.