Bob Shoop — Mississippi State
Tressel would be tough to steal based on his loyalty to Dantonio. Shoop may actually be the toughest guy to take away from his current job, mostly because it’s from the same division and could be seen as a lateral move from a career standpoint. But, as has been a theme of this entire article, money talks, and the Aggies have a lot of it.
Shoop has the most experience as a defensive coordinator of anybody on this list. He has spent time in the SEC at three different stops. He was the defensive coordinator and safeties coach for Vanderbilt from 2011-2013, in which the Commodores finished in the Top 25 defensively all three seasons after finishing No. 94 in 2010, and held the same two jobs with Penn State in 2014 and 2015, where they finished Top 25 defensively as well and No. 2 in 2014.
He moved on to Tennessee, where things were not the same but the speculation is Butch Jones (and injuries) had more to do with that than Shoop did. If there was anything Shoop could have done to prove the Tennessee years were an aberration, it would be the monster season he just had with Mississippi State.
The Bulldogs were the best defense in the country in Shoop’s first year as their defensive coordinator and safeties coach and it frankly wasn’t that close.
They finished No. 2 in scoring defense and No. 1 in yards allowed (No. 2 was a full 12 yards per game behind them). They were the only defense in the country to not give up a 50+ yard play. They only allowed 26 plays of 25+ yards, best in the country. They held seven of their opponents to their lowest scoring total of the season, and six of those were bowl teams (including Alabama). They allowed 12 total touchdowns in 12 games.
It was truly a masterful job by Shoop. Yes, he had a ton of talent to work with, as it typical in the SEC, but he has proven at three of his four stops he is an elite defensive coach.
Shoop will no doubt be tempted by the blank check Fisher will get him, but also the amount of talent just recruited on the defensive side of the ball for the Aggies, especially at safety. It may be a long shot, but one Fisher will likely take.