Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott has caught the eye of new Tennessee athletic director Danny White, who has hit the ground running in Knoxville with a coaching search being his initial top priority, per college football insider Bruce Feldman.
Elliott, who has been a rumored candidate for numerous Power 5 openings in recent years, is an offensive maven whose successful history with the Tigers through the years has been noticeable as a developer of quarterbacks and stat-rich production.
White said he would not conduct his coaching search until he heard from Tennessee's student athletes. Kevin Steele, hired as an assistant in a non-coordinator role, is serving as the Vols' interim head coach following the firing of Jeremy Pruitt.
“They know a whole lot of what’s going on, what’s going well, what’s not going well," White said Friday during his introductory press conference. "I’ll ask them to vote, if they’re watching they’re learning this right now and I’m going to tell them again this afternoon, but I’ll share a little bit about my philosophy and how we’ll be approaching things here.
"I want them to vote on team leaders. I can’t meet with 100 people and have a meaningful meeting."
Earlier this month, ESPN's Josina Anderson reported that Elliott told the Tennessee Titans and Miami Dolphins he wasn't interested in making the leap from Clemson to the NFL as an assistant coach. The first connection that Elliott had to the NFL was with the Seattle Seahawks, who fired Brian Schottenheimer this month.
Elliott’s success running the ball could be a big reason why Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll initially had interest in Elliott for the position.
A former wide receiver at Clemson, Elliott has been a member of Dabo Swinney's coaching staff since 2011 as running backs coach and was later promoted to co-offensive coordinator. He took the title in full following Jeff Scott's exit to USF prior to the 2020 season.
Elliott won the Broyles Award in 2017 given to the nation's top assistant coach.
Tennessee chancellor Donde Plowman said it will be White's call on who he retains from Pruitt's coaching staff. White is leaving that up to his new head coaching hire.
“I’m going to do a lot of homework,” White said. “I’ve spent a lot of time researching and calling on, I’m fortunate to have a pretty significant network in intercollegiate athletics, and I realize it’s probably because of the way I grew up, but I can get a candid opinion about folks and really understand who they are from a character standpoint."