UPDATE: Per FootballScoop, Foley intends on formally offering McElwain the head coaching job at UF. The staff at FootballScoop is also reporting that McElwain is likely to retain at least defensive coordinator DJ Durkin and secondary coach Travaris Robinson, which will definitely help with recruiting.
Colorado State’s Jim McElwain has emerged as Florida’s top target to fill the coaching vacancy. McElwain, the 2014 Mountain West Coach of the Year, has greatly improved Colorado State’s program, the Rams have gone 10-2 this season.
McElwain, 52, is one of the best offensive-minded coaches in college football. Colorado State is currently ranked 24th in scoring offense and seventh in passing offense. Rams QB Garrett Grayson is currently ranked second in passer rating, only behind Heisman front-runner Marcus Mariota of Oregon.
According to OnlyGators, a private flight is heading from Gainesville to Fort Collins, Colo., the home of McElwain. Yahoo! Sports writer Pat Forde confirmed that Florida AD Jeremy Foley is on the flight heading to Colorado. ESPN writer Brett McMurphy confirmed that McElwain is Florida’s top target to replace Will Muschamp.
As I’ve mentioned before, McElwain has a $7.5 million buyout, but it is negotiable. Florida and Colorado State can agree on future games to reduce that hefty price tag.
The Colorado State head coach does have Southeastern Conference coaching experience. From 2008-2011, he was the offensive coordinator under Nick Saban at Alabama.
A big negative for McElwain is that he has no recruiting ties to the state of Florida and will have to go up against one of the best recruiters in college football — Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher.