Duke football has hired Texas A&M defensive coordinator Mike Elko as its next coach, the school announced Friday. Elko, 44, takes over the Blue Devils after multiple years coaching at private schools and against ACC teams, including at Wake Forest. 

“We are absolutely thrilled to announce Mike Elko as our next head football coach,” Duke athletic director Nina King said. “He has an innovative football mind and a natural ability to connect with both players and coaches around him. Mike has a proven track record of success and is deeply committed to the overall student-athlete experience. From our first conversations, I knew Mike, Michelle and their children would make phenomenal additions to the Duke family!”

Elko has transformed Texas A&M into one of the nation’s top defensive programs in four years since joining the Aggies on Jimbo Fisher’s initial staff. The Aggies ranked No. 20 in total defense and No. 3 in scoring defense in an 8-4 campaign in 2021. The same units ranked No. 78 and No. 87 respectively before Elko’s arrival. 

Texas A&M posted a 34-14 record over Elko’s four seasons, including a breakout 9-1 record in 2020. Six defensive players have been drafted under Elko’s watch, with defensive end DeMarvin Leal — an FWAA All-American — projected as a top 10 prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft. 

“Duke stands for excellence,” Elko said. “The university has excelled in everything they’ve ever tried to do, whether that’d be in academics or athletics. I’m excited to get to work.” 

Elko takes over Duke from David Cutcliffe, who built the Blue Devils into a steady program during 14 years at the helm. He posted a 77-97 record overall at Duke, including a period of five bowl appearances in six years. However, Duke finished 3-9 and 0-8 in…

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