One by one, Brian Kelly’s old assistant coaches are staying at Notre Dame instead of following their old boss to LSU. Defensive line coach Mike Elston reportedly ss the latest to stay at Notre Dame under new head coach Marcus Freeman. It sounds like Elston is being promoted to defensive coordinator as well.
Elston might be the most significant assistant retained by Freeman just because of Elston’s history with Brian Kelly. Elston has been with Kelly since Central Michigan. He followed him to Cincinnati and then followed him again to Notre Dame. Apparently, he is NOT following him to LSU. Even if reports of his promotion to defensive coordinator prove false, Elston’s tweets more than suggest his return to Notre Dame is very true.
If Elston is to be Freeman’s defensive coordinator, it’s a well-earned promotion. Following to dismissal of Brian Vangorder in 2016, there was a groundswell of support to Elston to be the defensive coordinator. Brian Kelly instead went with an outside hire in Mike Elko and then passed Elston up again for the DC position a year later when Elko ran to Texas A&M for a pile of money. Like Freeman, Elston’s players universally love him, and his return will only aid in retaining the current recruiting class that ranks in the top five nationally.
So it appears as though the Notre Dame defensive line will continue to get sacks of cookies from Mrs. Elston for collecting sacks each week. After a 40 sack season in 2021, the Elston kitchen should stay busy.
As I’ve written in other articles tonight, the more staff continuity, the better for the CFP committee on Sunday. Elston joins Freeman, Rees, Mike Mickens, Lance Taylor, John McNulty, and Matt Balis as coaches reportedly staying at Notre Dame.