I noticed in the comments yesterday that there was some speculation about Dan Lanning’s future after this season ends, namely how attractive he might be for another program to hire as a head coach. (I don’t think we have to worry about a lateral move; Jimbo Fisher tried that last year, only to be rebuffed.)
Anyway, shedding a little light on the matter is this 247Sports piece about the top assistant coaches in the game and their future hiring prospects. They polled a bunch of FBS head coaches, assistants and staff administrators, and got responses from thirty-one of them.
Dan Lanning’s name is at the top of their list.
No one should be shocked to see Dan Lanning atop this list, easily garnering the most mentions among the swath of coaches polled by 247Sports. His Georgia defense is on the cusp of being a generational unit, one that might prove to be the best in modern college football history, as the Bulldogs chase a national championship in his third season as the play-caller. The Bulldogs have allowed a combined 59 points through nine games (33 points against the starters) and five opponents have been held without a touchdown. The 35-year-old Lanning is young, yes, but that hasn’t stopped programs like Oklahoma from leaning into youth movements — Lincoln Riley was 34 when he led the Sooners to the College Football Playoff in 2017 — and Lanning has been gaining notoriety and respect among his colleagues for several years.
Lanning might play the job market slowly, however, and wait until a big job is open for the taking. He has plenty of time and a lot of talent to work with at Georgia, where he could wait his turn and build up more cache among athletic directors and boosters at the blue blood programs across the country. Either way, Lanning will be fielding calls in December. The question is whether those calls are loud enough for him to consider answering.
That’s a good point. Kirby, no doubt, has made Lanning’s position attractive, much like Kirby’s mentor, Nick Saban, did for Smart in Tuscaloosa. How badly does Lanning want to scratch that itch?