It sounds like Richt and Pruitt are zeroing in on their last candidate for the defensive staff.
Mike Ekeler, who coached Southern California’s linebackers this past season, has emerged as a serious candidate to join Georgia’s staff. In fact, two sources at UGA said Ekeler was on his way to meet with head coach Mark Richt on Thursday.
Attempts to reach Ekeler for comment were unsuccessful. A source cautioned that it was not yet a done deal, and that Ekeler had also been speaking with UCLA. But the fact he was heading to meet Richt points to an advanced candidacy.
There is no firm connection between Ekeler and UGA, although he did work at Oklahoma with Chris Wilson, who spent last season as Georgia’s defensive line coach. Wilson, coincidentally, left for the same job at Southern California.
Ekeler, 42, was Indiana’s defensive coordinator from 2010-12, and one of his assistants was Jon Fabris, the former Georgia assistant. Prior to that Ekeler was an assistant at Nebraska for three years under Bo Pelini. Ekeler also worked at LSU from 2005-07, serving as an intern and graduate assistant, when Pelini was the defensive coordinator there. The Tigers won the national title while Ekeler was there.
If Ekeler is hired, that would mean three of the four members of the defensive staff would have coordinator experience.
Ekeler also has some other experience that I’m guessing is attractive to Richt.
A source said Ekelar, if hired at UGA, would help coach linebackers and also have a role coaching special teams. Ekeler was a special teams standout at Kansas State, where he played from 1991-94.
In fact Ekeler was named the national special teams player of the year as a senior by the George Michael Sports Machine, the now-defunct national sports show.
The George Michael Sports Machine? Way to dig, Seth.
Seriously, it can’t hurt. Although that Fabris relationship makes me a little nervous. If Ekeler comes out in his presser admitting he likes a challenge, good luck to Marshall Morgan.
(Also, note the end of Emerson’s piece – it looks like Kelin Johnson is coming home as a graduate assistant.)