All signs are pointing to Temple coach Geoff Collins emerging as a leading candidate to succeed Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson, according to multiple media reports and a person familiar with the coaching search. That person also said that Clemson co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott is another candidate, although it’s believed that he had not been contacted by Tech as of Thursday afternoon.
Collins was reported to have met with Tech officials Thursday in Atlanta by Yahoo writer Pete Thamel in a tweet, adding that a deal could happen this evening. According to Philly.com, Collins and Tech athletic director Todd Stansbury met in New York on Wednesday and in Georgia on Thursday.
Further, Los Angeles Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt has withdrawn his name from consideration, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Whisenhunt was reported to have met with Stansbury earlier in the week.
Tech may be wanting to move as quickly as possible to allow its new coach to meet with recruits before the early signing period begins Dec. 19. Tech has 16 committed players, many of whom are scheduled to visit campus this weekend for their official visits.
Collins has been the Temple head coach for the past two seasons, leading the Owls to seasons of 7-6 and 8-4. Before that, he was defensive coordinator at Florida (2015-16) and Mississippi State (2013-14). Collins left Mississippi State after the 2014 season and before the Bulldogs played against Tech in the Orange Bowl that season.
Collins, 47, is seen as energetic and innovative and has a reputation as a strong recruiter. In the second of his two stops at Tech, in 2006, he was credited with helping put together the Yellow Jackets’ famed recruiting class that included Derrick Morgan, Jonathan Dwyer, Morgan Burnett and Joshua Nesbitt. Another member of that class, Roddy Jones, called Collins “ahead of the curve” in a recent interview with the AJC.
Stansbury’s comfort level with Collins is understandable. Collins coached at Tech in two different times, first in 1999-2001 as a graduate assistant and tight ends coach for coach George O’Leary, then in 2006 as the director of player personnel for coach Chan Gailey. O’Leary went on to Central Florida, where his athletic director for four of those years was Stansbury.
The AJC is continuing to report further developments.