Clemson OC Tony Elliott Reportedly Emerges as Top Candidate for Virginia HC Job

Doric SamDecember 8, 2021

CLEMSON, SOUTH CAROLINA - OCTOBER 30: Clemson Tigers offensive coordinator Tony Elliott looks on before their game against the Florida State Seminoles at Clemson Memorial Stadium on October 30, 2021 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

Virginia Cavaliers football head coach Bronco Mendenhall is set to step down after the team's bowl game, and the school has reportedly already identified its top candidate to replace him.

ESPN's Chris Low and Adam Rittenberg report that Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott has emerged as the leading choice to take the helm at Virginia.

Elliott met with Virginia athletic director Carla Williams on Wednesday, according to ESPN's Andrea Adelson. He also reportedly had a meeting with Duke this week to discuss the Blue Devils' opening for a head coach.

Virginia has already dealt with a rejection, as Penn State co-defensive coordinator Anthony Poindexter told ESPN he's no longer a candidate to become the Cavaliers' next head coach. Poindexter, who is a former assistant at Virginia, played for the Cavaliers and was an All-American safety.

Elliott has been a mainstay on Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney's offensive staff since 2011. He's been the Tigers' primary play-caller for the past seven seasons and was co-offensive coordinator for their 2016 and 2018 national championship teams. Elliott won the Broyles Award in 2017 as the nation's top assistant coach.

Clemson's offense is averaging 26.8 points and 362.8 total yards this season, a sharp drop-off from recent seasons. The Tigers averaged 43.5 points and 502.3 yards in 2020.

Swinney already lost one of his coordinators recently, as former Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables was hired as Oklahoma's head coach this week. Swinney is reportedly looking to promote from within to replace Venables, and would likely do the same if Elliott were to leave as well.