Mississippi State defensive coordinator Geoff Collins is expected to accept the same position at Florida, according to a source.
An agreement has not yet been finalized, per the source.
Collins would be new Florida coach Jim McElwain’s first hire since taking over nearly two weeks ago and a major head-turner in the SEC. Under Collins, Mississippi State’s defense ranks 10th in the FBS in points allowed (19.4 points) this season and was instrumental in the Bulldogs’ rise to the No. 1 spot in the College Football Playoff rankings for three weeks earlier this season.
But after a 31-17 loss to rival Mississippi in the Egg Bowl last month, Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen was surprisingly harsh about his team's defense.
"That's just absolutely pathetic," Mullen told reporters. "That's a terrible job by our defensive coaching staff."
Nicknamed the Minister of Mayhem, the energetic Collins would inherit a Florida defense that was among the FBS’ top 10 in total defense all four years under fired Gators coach and new Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp. As part of Collins’ “Psycho Defense,” he runs an aggressive 4-3 scheme. He is also an accomplished recruiter.
The 43-year-old has been the defensive coordinator at Mississippi State the past two seasons under Mullen, who was Florida’s offensive coordinator when the Gators won two national titles with Urban Meyer. In Collins’ first season at Mississippi State, his unit was among the SEC’s top five in total defense.
Before the 2013 season, Collins was co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Mississippi State for two seasons. He was the defensive coordinator at Florida International in 2010 and the linebackers coach/recruiting coordinator at UCF from 2008-09.
In 2007, Collins was Alabama’s director of player personnel after spending a year as the recruiting coordinator at Georgia Tech. He was the defensive coordinator at his alma mater, Western Carolina, from 2002-05.
Collins also did a stint at Georgia Tech as a graduate assistant (1999-2001), was the defensive coordinator at Albright College (1997-98) and was an assistant at Franklin (N.C.) High School for a season (1995).
The Conyers, Ga. native played at Western Carolina (1989-1992) and was then a student assistant at the school for two years.