Well, this is going to get more interesting.
After only two years as the defensive coordinator, Jim Leavitt has been relieved of his duties in Eugene. Leavitt, who served as DC under both Willie Taggert and Mario Cristobal, had been both the HC at USF and DC at Colorado. At USF, Leavitt worked to transition the program to the FBS level.
This offseason, Leavitt was mentioned as a candidate for the Texas Tech, Colorado, and Kansas State (where he was long thought a favorite) jobs. Prior to this, he was passed over for the Oregon job in favor of current HC Mario Cristobal.
What is interesting though, is how late in the cycle this occurred. Most, if not all, positions should be filled by now. On top of this, Leavitt was the sixth highest paid coordinator in the nation, meaning, unless Oregon is a genius, Leavitt will Be owed one hefty buyout.
Unless, of course, Leavitt has been fired with cause. However, after doing some searching following the initial news, there is nothing to support this theory, making the timing all the more interesting, more so for Oregon than Leavitt.
This puts Oregon in an interesting place, considering that they have FIVE 4-5 star players on defense in this class, including #1 overall player Kayvon Thibodeaux. While the Ducks are expected to promote from within (Co-DC/safeties coach Keith Heyward, Per 247Sports), this still should be worrisome for the Ducks given the current wackiness of the transfer portal.
Leavitt is in an awkward position as of now. At 62 years old, it is entirely possible he will never be a head coach again, despite how highly praised he is in coaching circles. Looking at some of the Oregon insiders (@AndrewNemec on twitter), word is that Leavitt has been unhappy since the departure of Taggart. With that in mind, a few colleagues and I theorized a few landing spots for Leavitt.
The boldest of our claims. This is mostly based off the report that Leavitt was unhappy since Taggert’s departure. That being said, FSU would be forced to fire their current DC, and that seems unlikely at best.
Kentucky is now in the market for a DC after Matt House’s departure for the KC Chiefs. This would be a sort of(?) vertical move to the SEC for Leavitt. Also, after some Google research, Leavitt apparently gave Mark Stoops his first coaching job when he was the HC at USF.
The (as of now) most likely scenario. Florida DC Todd Grantham has interview twice for the Bengals DC job, indicating he may be out the door. This would be the most high profile coordinator job of the offseason, and Florida could afford the buyout. If Grantham take the Bengals job, keep an eye on Leavitt’s movement.
They fired him with cause
As of now this seems unlikely, as we would have heard more by now. However, if a week passes and Leavitt still doesn’t have a job, we will need to come back to this. Leavitt has been clean his whole career, so this is unlikely. If the NCAA does show themselves, we have a whole different story on our hands.