Texas A&M Head Coaching Candidates: Would Kirby Smart Really Consider the Job?

    The head coaching search presses on in College State, but which of these Texas A&M candidates actually make sense to take over the Aggies?

    The Texas A&M Aggies fired head coach Jimbo Fisher with two games left of the 2023 college football season. The Aggies split their final two outings and still have a bowl game left to play this season.

    With a seemingly endless supply of funding, which Texas A&M candidates should you actually believe would take the head coaching gig in College Station?

    Texas A&M Candidates: Who Makes Sense to Take Over?

    Let’s start by stating the obvious: We now know (we think we know) that Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops is not taking the job.

    Stoops’ name popped up after his Wildcats team defeated a top-10 ACC opponent in Louisville to win the Governor’s Cup and was all but linked to the job, according to the college football rumor mill. However, Stoops himself took to social media to issue a statement:

     So, if Stoops is out, which candidates actually make sense to take over Texas A&M?

    Kirby Smart, Georgia Head Coach

    No, Kirby Smart isn’t quite a realistic name for the role, but the Aggies understand they have to swing for the fences, have the checkbook to do so, and a hire like this would be met with welcome arms to financial backers.

    It’s just not realistic at this time until they roll out the Maroon carpet (again) on the tarmac for Smart. Back-to-back defending national champion head coaches aren’t likely to leave for a conference foe and they’re even less likely to leave ahead of their conference championship and likely birth into the College Football Playoff for the first-ever trifecta of National Championships.

    Smart is a pipe dream for Aggie faithful, nothing more at this time.

    Ryan Day, Ohio State Head Coach

    Another big name, Ryan Day should absolutely be considered on the hot seat in Columbus, even with a decorated record as the leader of the Ohio State Buckeyes. You must defeat Michigan to feel safe as the head coach of the Buckeyes and three straight defeats to the school up north could be the deciding factor for Day.

    The pressure could be insurmountable for Day at this rate, but at this point, it still feels highly unlikely. As Urban Meyer said on air yesterday, ‘no way’ Day goes to College Station.

    If Day were to leave for the gig, imagine how high the bar would be set for “success” as the head coach at Ohio State. That’d be impossible.

    Dabo Swinney, Clemson Head Coach

    Let’s get another unlikely scenario out of the way here. We all know Dabo Swinney doesn’t like change, he’s essentially stated that ever since the transfer portal and NIL became nomenclature in college football.

    You really think he’d leave the cushiest and second-highest-paying job in the sport to coach in the SEC? Even if the money was right and pushed him past Nick Saban on the list of highest-paid college football coaches, this seems incredibly unlikely just on a personal level for Swinney.

    Mike Elko, Duke Head Coach

    Okay, now we’re getting to the realistic names for the Texas A&M job. Mike Elko turned around a bottom-dwelling football program at Duke into a fearsome defensive unit that can win no matter who the opponent and what their offense does.

    They’ve weathered the storm of an injured quarterback and targets on their back as well as the media storm that has been Elko’s name as a top candidate since the middle of November to rattle off multiple wins and finish with a 7-5 record in 2023.

    Elko has put in successful building blocks for the Blue Devils, recruited at a high level given his strict parameters at Duke, and has elevated the talent within the program. He lands as arguably the safest of the hires at this stage.

    Jeff Traylor, UTSA Head Coach

    If the Aggies want to take back Texas, who better than a legendary Texas High School football coach himself? Jeff Traylor has immense ties in the state of Texas, so much so that if he says jump, it’s likely the entire THSCA convention would jump for joy (if you understand this reference, good for you).

    Traylor has cultivated a culture of winning at UTSA during his time there and the timing seems right for him to elevate himself as the upperclassmen and historic class with the Roadrunners have exhausted their eligibility. He’s a home-run hire and there is arguably nothing wrong with making this move and making him one of the highest-paid coaches in the industry.

    Other Potential Head Coach Candidates for Texas A&M

    • Jedd Fisch, Arizona
    • Lane Kiffin, Ole Miss
    • Jon Sumrall, Troy
    • Lance Leipold, Kansas
    • Chris Kleiman, Kansas State

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