Tier List: Ranking Texas A&M Football Head Coaching Candidates

Ohio State coach Ryan Day shakes hands with Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh following Saturday's game.
Ohio State coach Ryan Day shakes hands with Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh following Saturday's game. /
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B tier hires for Texas A&M football

Now we’re getting into the good stuff! Guys at this level or above would be ones where I can really see a strong path towards championship contention. This tier is the lowest end of that spectrum.

Texas A&M football
Nov 11, 2023; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Kansas Jayhawks head coach Lance Leipold looks on during the first half against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /

Lance Leipold: It’s not easy to resurrect Kansas. Leipold has a tradition of winning in his wake, and he brought that to one of the toughest football jobs in America and now has them as a legitimate squad for the first time in forever. There are questions about how his abilities recruiting-wise would scale to this stage, as well as whether his offensive system can be viable at a championship level, but this is one that I would not be opposed to at all.

Texas A&M football
Nov 18, 2023; Charlottesville, Virginia, USA; Duke Blue Devils head coach Mike Elko looks on from the sidelines against the Virginia Cavaliers during the third quarter at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

Mike Elko: I think too many Aggie fans have it in their head that Elko is a bad candidate. He’s one of the brightest defensive minds in college football, and has made an immediate impact at Duke. His big time QB got injured down the stretch of this season, accounting for many of their losses, but I think Elko would be a great fit here. He’s not a bad recruiter at all, either; he may not be an ace, but he’s definitely an asset.

Texas A&M football
Nov 18, 2023; Corvallis, Oregon, USA; Oregon State Beavers head coach Jonathan Smith looks onto the field during the second half against the Washington Huskies at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports /

Jonathan Smith: Recent reporting from Footballscoop.com has the Oregon State head man as likely to head to Michigan State, but nothing is set in stone yet. Similar to Leipold, Smith has done wonders with a very tough situation up in Corvallis. His offense may be a bit too reminiscent of Jimbo’s for many Aggie fans’ liking (except that it, you know, functions consistently), and he hasn’t shown a huge ability as regards recruiting, but there’s a lot to like with Smith.

Texas A&M football
Oct 7, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Arizona Wildcats head coach Jedd Fisch watches game action against the Southern California Trojans during the first half at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

Jedd Fisch: Fisch is really intriguing for a lot of reasons: first, he’s been basically everywhere. He’s worked for almost every coach under the sun, it seems like, from Steve Spurrier to Bill Belichek. He has a forward-focused vision for his program, talking in a recent interview about instituting an NFL-style personnel department, which isn’t a bad idea in the NIL and transfer portal era. He’s also shown some recruiting chops, getting a top-20 class to Tucson where such a thing is unheard of. Not to mention the fact that he’s taken Zona from 1-11 all the way to 8-3 with 9-3 likely.