Highest-paid college football assistant coaches: Breaking down Top 10

It isn’t simply head coaches who’re cashing in.

Three assistant coaches at public colleges within the Soccer Bowl Subdivision are making north of $2 million this 12 months, in accordance with contracts compiled and analyzed by USA TODAY Sports activities. The group is led by ex-Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables, whose whole pay this season was a whopping $2.5 million. (Venables has since been employed as the pinnacle coach at Oklahoma.)

See more: Highest paid coordinators in college football

In actual fact, the entire 10 highest-paid assistants within the nation are pocketing a minimum of $1.5 million in 2021 – greater than a whopping 44 head coaches within the FBS will make throughout the identical time interval.

A few of these assistants’ salaries now appear like bargains, given how their models carried out. Others appear like wastes.

A breakdown of the ten highest-paid assistants, and which of their models did sufficient to justify their huge compensation through the 2021 season:

1. Brent Venables, Clemson defensive coordinator

Complete pay: $2.5 million

Verdict: Value it. Venables has lengthy been one of many highest-paid assistant coaches within the nation, however his defenses have additionally lengthy been among the many greatest. Even in a subpar marketing campaign for Clemson this season, the protection ranks second in factors allowed (15 per recreation), ninth in yards allowed (308.4 per recreation) and fourth in sacks. It is some huge cash for a coordinator, after all, however the Tigers have gotten a return on their funding.

2. Tony Elliott, Clemson offensive coordinator

Complete pay: $2.13 million

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Verdict: Overpaid. Clemson has been usually terrific through the years with Elliott on the helm, however not so in 2021. The Tigers scored 21 factors or fewer in 5 of their first six video games, together with three losses. And the passing recreation has been notably anemic, averaging fewer than 192 yards per recreation regardless of fielding a five-star quarterback and ample expertise all around the area.

3. Mike Elko, Texas A&M defensive coordinator

Complete pay: $2.1 million

Verdict: Value it (barely). If you’re making extra money than a big chunk of FBS head coaches, together with many of the Group of 5, the expectations must be excessive. Elko’s unit simply barely cleared that bar. No, the Aggies’ protection hasn’t been otherworldly. But it surely ranks inside the highest 20 nationally in quite a few key defensive classes, and solely Clemson and Georgia have surrendered fewer factors in 2021.

4. Todd Grantham, Florida defensive coordinator

Complete pay: $1.801 million

Verdict: Overpaid. The Gators fired Grantham on Nov. 7 after a dismal three-game stretch through which his protection gave up a mixed 123 factors to LSU, Georgia and South Carolina. If you’re the third highest-paid defensive coordinator within the nation, that is simply not adequate.

5. Alex Grinch, Oklahoma defensive coordinator

Complete pay: $1.8 million

Verdict: Overpaid. Grinch, who not too long ago adopted Lincoln Riley to Southern Cal, has coached stellar defensive models in previous years. However his group at Oklahoma this 12 months has been mediocre at greatest, particularly in move protection – which is Grinch’s specialty. The Sooners are among the many worst groups within the nation in each passing yards allowed (108th) and passing effectivity protection (a centesimal).

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6. Barry Odom, Arkansas defensive coordinator

Complete pay: $1.75 million

Verdict: Overpaid. Arkansas has had a wonderful season, however Odom’s protection has been a bit too inconsistent – shutting down groups like Texas A&M, then getting ripped aside by Georgia and Ole Miss. It isn’t that the Razorbacks have been horrible. Simply not adequate to justify their coordinator’s $1.75 million paycheck this 12 months.

t-7. Pete Kwiatkowski, Texas defensive coordinator

Complete pay: $1.7 million

Verdict: Undoubtedly overpaid. The Longhorns completed beneath .500, went 3-6 within the Massive 12 and had one of many worst defenses within the Energy 5 below Kwiatkowski. They have been notably unhealthy on the bottom, giving up greater than 200 speeding yards per recreation. However giving up 57 factors to Kansas was in all probability the low level.

t-7. Dan Lanning, Georgia defensive coordinator

Complete pay: $1.7 million

Verdict: Value it. No FBS workforce gave up fewer factors per recreation than Georgia this season, and the Bulldogs completed contained in the top-three in each passing and speeding yards allowed. It helps to have a defensive-minded head coach in Kirby Sensible, however Lanning deserves plenty of credit score right here, as effectively.

9. Pete Golding, Alabama defensive coordinator

Complete pay: $1.63 million

Verdict: Value it. Whereas Golding’s unit at Alabama hasn’t been fairly nearly as good as Georgia’s, or as suffocating as it has been in years previous, it is nonetheless been wonderful – and a key purpose why the Crimson Tide received the SEC and made the Faculty Soccer Playoff. The defensive entrance has been particularly stable, serving to Alabama rank third within the nation in sacks and fourth in speeding yards allowed.

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10. Derek Mason, Auburn defensive coordinator

Complete pay: $1.5 million

Verdict: Value it (barely). The Tigers solely compelled 10 turnovers in 12 video games throughout Mason’s first 12 months at Auburn, however they proved to be pretty stingy on the entire, rating simply outdoors the top-30 in scoring protection. In addition they have the excellence of being one in every of simply two groups to carry Alabama to fewer than 30 factors.

Contributing: Steve Berkowitz

Contact Tom Schad at [email protected] or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.

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