TALLAHASSEE -- As has been expected since this time last week, Florida State appears close to losing another one of its key defensive coaches. Online reports have circulated Monday evening suggesting Seminoles defensive ends coach D.J. Eliot was leaving the school to join now former FSU defensive coordinator Mark Stoops at Kentucky.

Stoops was introduced Sunday as the Wildcats' new head coach.

Pete Roussel of CoachingSearch.com was first to report that sources had indicated to him that Eliot was going to Kentucky.

The Orlando Sentinel is working to verify the report.

It certainly appears true, though. At least one Seminoles recruit has already taken to Twitter to voice outrage at the notion that Eliot is indeed gone.

"I guess Eliott lied to me," Chamblee, Ga. defensive end recruit Davin Bellamy tweeted.

He also spoke to ESPN.com recruiting writer Corey Dowlar. According to a conversation with Dowlar, Bellamy said he is still committed to FSU and has "faith that Jimbo [Fisher] will bring in a big name guy."

Bellamy later tweeted: "As long as Coach [Dameyune] Craig & Jimbo are still there I am too."

Craig is FSU's quarterbacks coach who has been recruiting Bellamy.

Presumably, Eliot will be Stoops' defensive coordinator. More official news on Eliot's potential hiring could come as early as Tuesday. Stoops has indicated that he would like his assistant coaching vacancies filled by then.

During his first hour-long radio show as head coach Monday night, Stoops told Kentucky fans that he already knew who he was going to hire and how much he would allow that assistant to call plays.

According to Jen Smith of the Lexington Herald-Leader, Stoops told listeners, "The person I’m going to hire, I have great trust in and we’re very familiar with each other."

As he discussed play-calling, Stoops said the following: "I will oversee it during the week and be involved in the game plan and watch each and every practice and every play with the adjustments and things that are going on and then I will step back and let him do his job."

Eliot, who had been part of Stoops' staff at FSU since 2010, played a key role in turning FSU's defense from being one of the worst units in the country to one of the best.

The year before Stoops and Eliot arrived -- Stoops also arrived in 2010 -- the Seminoles were among the 20 worst teams in college football defensively. They enter next month's Orange Bowl with the nation's No. 2 ranked total defense.

A large share of the credit for the improved play goes to FSU's defensive ends. Potential first- or second-round NFL Draft picks Brandon Jenkins, Bjoern Werner and Cornellius "Tank" Carradine were either brought to FSU by or molded while at FSU by Eliot.

Jenkins was a All-America selection this preseason before a foot injury in the Seminoles' season opener sidelined him for the year. Carradine was first-team All-ACC additions before a torn ACL in the regular season finale cut short his senior season. He led the team in tackles at the time of his injury.

On Monday night, Werner was in Charlotte, N.C. to take part in a ceremony recognizing the finalists for the Nagurski Trophy.

Eliot and Stoops first connected in the late 1990s at Wyoming, where Eliot was playing and Stoops was coaching. After injuries forced Eliot to end his days as a linebacker and become a student assistant, he entered the coaching world. He quickly became a grad assistant at Wyoming and following Stoops to Houston before the pair went their respective ways.

After spending several years in Texas, Eliot got to know the region well from a recruiting standpoint. Just this past recruiting cycle, he landed prized top defensive end recruit, Mario Edwards Jr. out of Denton, Texas. It helped that Edwards' father, Mario Sr., was a former FSU player, but Eliot still was able to sway the younger Edwards to campus.

Last weekend, the true freshman received his first career start, playing in place of Carradine. He had seven total tackles, including one for loss.

After FSU's win over Georgia Tech in Saturday's ACC championship, Stoops credited Eliot for putting together a winning gameplan together while he worked out the logistics of his own hiring. Last Tuesday, Kentucky announced it had hired Stoops.

"I really got to give a shout-out to Coach Eliot who did a lot of the game-planning for this particular game," Stoops said. "He had played these types of offenses more than I have the past couple of years prior to his arrival at Florida State, and had a good feel for them."

Tech's unique spread option, run-based scheme isn't run by many teams. The Yellow Jackets amassed just 301 yards of total offense. They had been averaging more than 323 yards of rushing offense per game alone.


Along with Monday's news on Eliot, Noles247.com, a recruiting-based Website covering FSU athletics that is affiliated with the 247Sports.com chain, reported that tight ends coach and offensive coordinator James Coley was indeed staying at FSU and not leaving for Kentucky.

Last week, it appeared Coley was going to leave to become Kentucky's new offensive coordinator.

The assistant has been tweeting since Saturday night's win, celebrating it and looking forward to participating in the Orange Bowl against Northern Illinois.

Email me at coharvey@orlandosentinel.com, and follow on Twitter at @os_coleyharvey.