Ohio State bolsters defensive staff by hiring Perry Eliano away from Cincinnati

Ryan Day has continued the reshaping of Ohio State’s defensive coaching staff with the addition of Cincinnati cornerbacks coach Perry Eliano, sources confirmed to The Athletic. Eliano, 43, will have a role coaching the secondary in Columbus under new coordinator Jim Knowles.

Eliano could team with Tim Walton to coach the Ohio State defensive backs, according to a report from The Athletic‘s Bruce Feldman. Walton, the secondary coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, is considered a strong candidate to join the Buckeyes’ retooled defensive staff.

This past season at Cincinnati, Eliano coached Thorpe Award-winning cornerback Coby Bryant and expected first-round NFL Draft pick Sauce Gardner as part of a passing defense that ranked No. 2 in the country and helped the Bearcats reach the College Football Playoff.

Eliano, who’s originally from Texas, previously coached at his alma mater Stephen F. Austin, Central Arkansas, Sam Houston State, UTSA, Bowling Green and New Mexico before joining the Cincinnati staff in 2020.

The expected hirings of Eliano and Walton, which have not yet been confirmed by Ohio State, and the move to have Knowles coach the linebackers would seem to signal that former coordinator Kerry Coombs and linebackers coach Al Washington will not be retained. Defensive line coach Larry Johnson is expected to be the only holdover from the 2021 defensive coaching staff.

(Photo: Matthew Emmons / USA Today)

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