Report: Ohio State Eyeing Jim Knowles as Defensive Coordinator

December 7, 2021

Oklahoma State isn’t the only OSU with Jim Knowles in its sights.

Ohio State is reportedly eyeing Oklahoma State’s Broyles Award finalist defensive coordinator, according to On3’s Austin Ward, formally of ESPN.

Ohio State doesn’t currently have a vacancy at defensive coordinator, as Kerry Coombs was the Buckeyes DC this past season, but according to multiple reports, changes are believed to be coming.

This isn’t the first blue-blood program that has reportedly been interested in Knowles. Last month, reports surfaced of new Florida coach Bill Napier had Knowles at the top of his list as a potential defensive coordinator.

After the season OSU’s defense had, it was guaranteed that anyone with an opening would at least give Knowles a look. OSU leads the nation in sacks and tackles for loss while ranking third in total defense and second in third-down conversion percentage.

OSU coach Mike Gundy has been vocal throughout the past couple of weeks about wanting to retain Knowles.

“I am fairly certain that he’ll be coaching here next year,” Gundy said last week. “I don’t know, I mean, the Green Bay Packers may offer him $3 million. I can’t say for sure, but within reason, I’m very, very certain that he’ll be coaching here next year.”

OSU defenders have also taken to Twitter pleading that OSU does whatever it takes to keep Knowles in Stillwater. Brock Martin tweeted out this week to give Knowles a blank check. Gundy responded to that in his Fiesta Bowl news conference Sunday.

“Well, I think it’s awesome,” Gundy said. “We want our players to trust the coaches. And, obviously, they trust Coach Knowles. Blank checks are a little much. I don’t know that I can go that far in making decisions.

“I can tell you that our president and athletic director would love to keep Coach Knowles in Stillwater. And he and I developed a great working relationship. I think he’s a very smart football coach, and I really think he likes Stillwater. So we’re in the process today and, really, some over the last couple weeks of trying to work out a deal to keep him here. I think it’s best for Oklahoma State football, and I think Coach Knowles wants to be here. It’s not quite as easy as just giving somebody a blank check. There’s a lot of details involved in that, but we’re working hard to keep him in place.”

Knowles joined Gundy’s staff ahead of the 2018 season after spending eight seasons at Duke. He has also coach at Cornell, Western Michigan and Ole Miss.

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