Florida State football: Ten potential candidates to replace Jimbo Fisher

After days of agonizing silence, Jimbo Fisher has finally made official the decision most Florida State followers seemed to expect a week ago. Fisher is leaving Tallahassee after eight years at the helm of Florida State’s football team to become the head coach at Texas A&M.

Suddenly, Florida State finds itself in its first coaching search in 41 years. While the Seminoles are slightly late to the coaching carousel, there are still several big names available that the school could lure to Tallahassee.

Here are 10 possible replacements for Fisher, some coming from this list from the Tallahassee Democrat:

Willie Taggart

According to multiple reports, Florida State began background research on the current Oregon coach in case Fisher decided to leave. Taggart has proven himself to be a master at turning programs around at his three head coaching stops: Western Kentucky, South Florida and now Oregon.

While the Seminoles have had a disappointing season by Florida State standards, turning around Florida State would be by far the easiest rebuilding job Taggart has faced. Plus, he has established himself as a strong recruiter in Florida and would likely bring some commits from his incoming class at Oregon should he take the job at Florida State. Consider Taggart the Seminoles’ top choice for the job.

Scott Frost

Once Florida hired Dan Mullen, the consensus seemed to be that Frost, whose Central Florida team will look to advance to 13-0 with a win over Memphis in the American Championship Game this weekend, would return to his alma mater of Nebraska. An opening at Florida State might give him pause.

Frost has proven that he can successfully recruit in the state of Florida with far fewer amenities than he could have at Florida State. Plus, Florida State has certainly passed Nebraska on the job status totem pole; the Cornhuskers have won 10 games in just four seasons since 2001, while the Seminoles have done so five seasons in a row entering this year.

Justin Fuente

Like Fisher, Fuente was handed the unenviable task of replacing a legend at Virginia Tech, and he’s done so admirably. The Hokies won 10 games and the ACC Coastal Division title last season, and are 9-3 this year. Prior to accepting the job at Virginia Tech, Fuente led an impressive turnaround at Memphis. The Tigers went 3-21 in the two seasons before Fuente arrived, and by 2014 Fuente led Memphis to its first 10-win season in program history.

Fuente hasn’t shown any signs of interest in other jobs that have come open in recent weeks, but Florida State might be enough of a step up from Virginia Tech to lure him away from Blacksburg.

Charlie Strong

Strong was once considered one of the hottest names in coaching, after he thrived as the defensive coordinator on Urban Meyer’s Florida teams in the mid 2000s and led Louisville to back-to-back 11-win seasons in 2012 and 2013. His struggles at Texas diminished Strong’s appeal a bit, but he has proven Florida recruiting ties and his South Florida team went an impressive 9-2 this season.

Kevin Sumlin

Could Florida State and Texas A&M essentially swap head coaches? While it may not seem like the most exciting prospect to Florida State fans, a report surfaced Thursday that Sumlin’s name has been brought up as a potential replacement for Fisher, which would complete an unprecedented head coach “trade,” of sorts. While Fisher’s resume is undoubtedly more impressive than Sumlin’s, Sumlin did go 51-26 during six seasons coaching in the SEC West, including an 11-2 run in 2012. Plus, the most alluring aspect of hiring Sumlin for the Florida State administration: the school wouldn’t have to pay for him to be bought out of a contract.

Jeff Brohm

Well-renowned for his offensive brilliance as an assistant at Louisville and head coach at Western Kentucky, Brohm rejuvenated a Purdue program that had gone 9-29 in the past four seasons in his first year as a head coach, leading the Boilermakers to bowl eligibility this season. Brohm was reportedly courted by Tennessee earlier in the week, but he turned down the job. The opportunity to bring his scheme to Florida State with the athletes available to him might be too much to pass up.

Matt Campbell

Campbell became one of the darlings of college football this season after his Iowa State team upset both Oklahoma and TCU and moved as high as No. 14 in the AP poll. Campbell is widely regarded as one of the sharpest young minds in coaching, but he likely won’t be Florida State’s first choice because acquiring him from Iowa State would be expensive. Campbell’s current buyout is $9.4 million. Plus, Campbell signed a six-year, $22.5 million extension with Iowa State on Monday, which gives him even more incentive to remain with the Cyclones.

Dave Clawson

Clawson steadily climbed the coaching ladder, from Fordham to Richmond to Bowling Green and, now, Wake Forest. After two straight seven-win seasons with the Demon Deacons, could it be time for another promotion? Clawson’s team featured an explosive offense this season, which averaged over 450 yards and 33.7 points per game. Clawson also has experience in the ACC Atlantic Division. Clawson recently signed a contract extension that would keep him at Wake Forest through 2024, but his buyout hasn’t been reported. If it’s not too hefty, Clawson wouldn’t be the splashiest hire, but he could make sense at Florida State.

Chad Morris

Morris, currently the head coach at SMU, has had his name pop up for other openings in recent weeks. Morris has experience recruiting and coaching in the ACC — prior to joining SMU, he was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Clemson from 2011-2014, and he was heavily involved in the recruitment and development of current Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. After going 1-11 the season prior to Morris’ arrival, Morris returned SMU to bowl eligibility with a 7-5 record this year.

Lane Kiffin

Kiffin’s name would certainly spark intrigue around the Florida State program, though his history as a head coach would likely deter Florida State from hiring him. Kiffin was fired less than two seasons into his first head coaching job, which came with the Oakland Raiders. He then bounced to Tennessee but left the Volunteers after one season to take over for Pete Carroll at USC. Kiffin was fired partway through his fourth season at USC.

Following three seasons as the offensive coordinator at Alabama, Kiffin has returned to head coaching as the head of Florida Atlantic, which has gone 9-3 this season. While Kiffin’s offensive prowess is well-known and he’s drawn headlines for his humorous social media presence this season, he has a reputation for creating friction with his bosses that would likely deter Florida State.

The post Florida State football: Ten potential candidates to replace Jimbo Fisher appeared first on Diehards.

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