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Notre Dame Football: Irish Lose Defensive Coordinator Mike Elko to Texas A&M

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Elko leaves after just one year.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: APR 22 Notre Dame Spring Game Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Mike Elko is leaving the Notre Dame Fighting Irish after one year as the football team’s defensive coordinator for the same job with the Texas A&M Aggies, first reported Thursday by TexAgs.

Elko will join former Florida State Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher in College Station.

This move may have caught Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly off guard, as he told Irish Illustrated’s Pete Sampson on Dec. 26:

“If you’re looking at the defensive coordinators that are out there today and you look at what they’re being paid, it’s ridiculous. The money is crazy and the length of contracts that are being thrown at you. You look at it that way, you’re probably going to catch somebody’s eye early on in the process, and I’m not saying that it happened or it didn’t happen, you can put two and two together.”

“Yeah, it’s been a challenge, but we’ll all be together. At first glance, yeah, I think you’re always on guard (about losing a coach), especially the defensive coordinator position. Mike came in, did a really good job. His name was out there, but he’s gonna be here at Notre Dame.”

Elko signed a three-year deal in December 2016. Although his compensation was not revealed, former defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder made in excess of $1 million in his final year.

Elko was one of just two individuals to interview for the position last year. The other was Mike Elston, who coaches the defensive line. At this point, nothing has been said about linebackers coach Clark Lea, who accompanied Elko from their previous stop with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.

The comments section is open for your endless speculation on which all-star Kelly and the administration will replace Elko with.

UPDATE

Brian Kelly concedes.

UPDATE

it was for a lot of money.