Back Then, They Didn’t Want Him, Now Jim McElwain’s Hot And Florida’s All On Him

Jeremy Foley's coaching search was more of manhunt for an escaped SEC denizen than anything. The rumors of Hugh Freeze being interested in Florida never added up. Freeze is as much of a Mississippian through and through as the acclaimed author William Faulkner. 

When Jim McElwain left Alabama to become the head coach at Colorado State three years ago, he was Mike Jones before the paper came, before he got his fame. Everybody said "who?", Doug Nussmeier was hailed to the mother ship and the Crimson Tide continued winning. 

If reports are accurate that McElwain is finalizing a deal to become the Gators next head coach, it would be an unlikely triumphant return for the former John Doe on Saban's early Alabama staffs. 

In just three seasons, McElwain took a team went 3-9 in three consecutive seasons, an offense which accumulated the third-fewest yards per game during its first season in the then 10-team Mountain West Conference to one that finished second in total yards en route to a 10-2 record with losses to Boise State in their second game of 2014 and Air Force in the season finale.  

Muschamp left the defensive drawer stacked, but it will be McElwain's job to reinvigorate a dormant offense which features playmakers such as sophomore tailback Kelvin Taylor, junior Matt Jones, the leading rusher and receiver Demarcus Robinson. Highly-touted quarterback Treon Harris, the current starter, has gone through growing pains, but will only be a sophomore next season. Behind him on the depth chart is  quarterback Will Grier, considered second to only Deshaun Watson as the top dual-threat prospects in the class of 2014.

Foley and McElwan have spent much of the last two days hammering out details in Colorado and the biggest hangup may be McElwain's $7.5 million buyout, which is exorbitant even for Florida's deep pockets.

There's good reason for Foley acting fast on McElwain. He's also the target of Michigan and Nebraska's coaching search teams.