Blue and Gold Illustrated

February 2017

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 24 of 55 FEBRUARY 2017 25 he coached the linebackers in the fall and defensive backs in the spring. He also had coaching stints at Penn (2000, secondary) and the U.S. Mer- chant Marine Academy (2001, defen- sive coordinator). Elko thrived at Wake Forest with a roster that ranks near the bottom of the ACC in terms of talent. The Demon Deacons' previous four re- cruiting classes ranked 61st, 52nd, 59th and 58th, and included just one four-star prospect. Elko coached 2015 NFL first-round pick Kevin Johnson, a cornerback, for one season. "I'm excited to join a program with the prestige of Notre Dame that can recruit the nation's highest caliber of student-athlete and com- pete for a national championship," said Elko, who grew up in South Brunswick, N.J., and was a star high school quarterback. "We hope to dictate the pace of the game with an attacking and aggressive style of defense, mix physicality and tough- ness with exceptional fundamentals and, lastly, play with great effort at all times. "I can't wait to dive in and help these players achieve the standard of success necessary to win at the high- est level." It's unknown what Elko's salary was at Wake Forest, a private school of about 8,000 students that is not subject to open records requests. In Elko's final season at Bowling Green he made $130,000, his first year in six figures. Notre Dame paid Van- Gorder $1.106 million in 2014, the ninth-highest salary in the country for an assistant. At Wake Forest, Elko coached the Demon Deacons' safeties. He also has experience coaching linebackers. He's tasked with improving a Notre Dame defense that struggled to put pressure on the quarterback the past three seasons. Notre Dame's defensive line fin- ished with just three sacks in 2016, the fewest among any Power Five conference team. The Fighting Irish had only 14 sacks overall, tied for 118th nationally among 128 Football Bowl Subdivision teams, and cre- ated just 14 turnovers, which tied for 102nd. Elko could fix those poor num- bers: This past season, the Demon Deacons tied for 10th nationally in turnovers forced with 27 and 11th in sacks with 41. ✦ ✦ THE ELKO FILE Year(s) School Position 2014-16 Wake Forest defensive coordinator/safeties 2012-13 Bowling Green defensive coordinator/safeties 2009-11 Bowling Green defensive coordinator/linebackers 2008 Hofstra assistant head coach/defensive coordinator/linebackers 2007 Hofstra defensive coordinator/linebackers 2006 Hofstra defensive coordinator/defensive backs 2005 Richmond special teams coordinator/recruiting coordinator 2004 Richmond recruiting coordinator/linebackers 2003 Fordham co-defensive coordinator/linebackers 2002 Fordham linebackers 2001 U.S. Merchant Marine Academy defensive coordinator/defensive backs 2000 Pennsylvania assistant defensive backs 1999 Stony Brook graduate assistant/inside linebackers Under Elko's direction, Wake Forest finished the 2016 regular season tied for 20th nationally in scoring defense (21.8 points allowed per game) and tied for 39th in total defense (370.1 yards per game). PHOTO BY BRIAN WESTERHOLT, SPORTS ON FILM

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