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After two years with the Florida Gators, defensive coordinator Geoff Collins will leave the program to take over as head coach of the Temple Owls, according to multiple reports including from ESPN and Fox Sports.
Collins, who has overseen top-10 defenses with the Gators over the last two years, departs Florida just as it is set to suffer a number of early departures and key graduations.
The Florida defensive coordinator position is an attractive one nationally, especially as the Gators do still have a number of talented players currently on the roster and committed to the program entering 2017.
Should head coach Jim McElwain choose to promote from within, co-coordinator Randy Shannon would make a lot of sense, though Shannon has not coordinated a defense on his own since 2006. He spent four years as head coach at Miami before coaching linebackers at TCU (2012) and Arkansas (2013-14). He joined McElwain’s initial staff in 2015 in his current role.
Whomever McElwain hires — whether to replace Collins or to add to the staff with Shannon moving over — needs to not only be a great coach but a tremendous recruiter. Florida has struggled in that area under its new administration and has not hauled in the number of quality defensive recruits it has in the past, particularly under Will Muschamp.
Collins received a $300,000 raise to a total salary of $890,000 last season, while Shannon earned $400,000 as co-coordinator and linebackers coach. Florida should have $1 million or more at its disposal to hire either a new coordinator or split between a coordinator and top-tier position coach.