Wake Forest defensive coordinator Mike Elko is close to finalizing a multi-year deal for the same position at Notre Dame, according to Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel.
Elko has been rumored to be on Notre Dame's radar ever since Brian VanGorder was fired Sept. 25. His defenses at Wake Forest and Bowling Green have consistently had success despite a lack of recruiting star talent, and the 39-year-old Elko has also developed some of those lesser-hyped players into NFL talents.
Wake Forest did not field a former four- or five-star recruit on defense in 2016 but ranked 40th in yards per play (5.34) and 20th in points per game (21.8).
The defense Elko would take over in 2017 is filled with youth but does have some promising talents like cornerbacks Julian Love and Donte Vaughn, as well as senior captain linebacker Nyles Morgan. Notre Dame's defense significantly improved after VanGorder was fired after four brutally bad games, fueling a belief that there is enough talent in that group to build an effective defense.
It's expected Elko would be allowed to hire his own assistant coaches as Notre Dame's defensive coordinator, though coach Brian Kelly likely will want to keep linebackers coach/recruiting coordinator Mike Elston — who's coached under Kelly since their days at Central Michigan in the mid-2000s — on staff in some capacity.