Texas Football: 5 early candidates for UT to replace DL coach Bo Davis

Mike Elston
Mike Elston / Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK
2 of 3
Mike Elston
Mike Elston / Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Mike Elston, Michigan Recruiting coordinator/DL coach

If Texas wanted to target a big-time hire from a blue blood college football program, a good option would be the Michigan Wolverines second-year recruiting coordinator/defensive line coach Mike Elston. Texas would definitely have to throw a ton of money at Elston to get him to leave Michigan.

But given the speculation that head coach Jim Harbaugh could leave Michigan to return to the NFL for his next coaching job, targeting Elston might be more realistic than some might think for the Longhorns to fill the DL coaching vacancy.

Elston helped to develop a defensive front at Michigan that just gave star quarterback Michael Penix Jr. and the Washington Huskies top-ranked passing attack in the nation fits in the National Championship Game. Two Michigan defensive tackles earned All-Big Ten First-Team honors and one earned All-American honors under Elston this past season.

Michigan boasted three of the top four highest-graded defensive tackles in the Big Ten in 2023.

Elston has found plenty of success at multiple stops at big-time programs where he was the defensive line coach. He also helped to develop more than a handful of All-Americans during his dozen seasons on staff with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish before taking the Michigan job a couple of years ago.

Rod Wright, Houston Texans Assistant DL coach

If Texas pursued the route of hiring an alumni to be the next defensive line coach to replace Davis, then look no further than second-year Houston Texans assistant DL coach Rod Wright. The First-Team AP All-American with Texas's National Championship-winning squad in 2005, Wright is a revered alumni on the Forty Acres.

Wright actually began his coaching journey at Texas, where he was a defensive assistant from 2010 to 2013. His first full-time coaching gig came in 2014 with FCS Sam Houston State. At Sam Houston State, Wright was part of a staff that ranked among the very best teams in the FCS in the mid-2010s.

Wright also helped to develop a second round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, All-American defensive lineman PJ Hall, during his time at Sam Houston State in the mid-2010s.

He continued to find success developing all-conference talent among defensive linemen in his next two stops at East Carolina and UTSA from 2018 to 2021.

In 2022, Wright was hired by then-newly hired Miami Hurricanes head coach Mario Cristobal to be their defensive ends coach. He spent one season with the Canes before being hired to his current role, with the Texans as an assistant defensive line coach under head coach DeMeco Ryans.

The Texans had one of the NFL's biggest turnarounds in the last couple of years under Ryans. The rejuvenation of the Texans as a squad is largely thanks to the vast improvement of the defensive line this season. Houston probably wouldn't be in the playoffs this year if not thanks to the defensive line trio of Jonathan Greenard (team sack leader), rookie Will Anderson, and defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins.

Wright has proven to be on the up and up as a defensive coach at every stop he's been at in college and the NFL in the last decade.