Bryant Young’s decision to step down from his coaching position at the University of Florida last week left a vacancy in the Florida coaching staff. However, according to the El Paso Times, that vacancy might already be filled.
UTEP Miners first year defensive coordinator Jeff Choate has agreed to join the coaching staff at Florida.
Choate was the linebacker’s coach at Washington State last season before accepting the position of defensive coordinator at UTEP on January 8. He spent just over three months with the Miners before deciding to continue his coaching career in Gainesville.
Prior to coaching at UTEP and Washington State, Choate spent the previous six years at Boise State. He was a running backs coach (2006-08), linebacker coach (2009-2010) and also coached nickel backs (2011). Choate also served as the special teams coach all six seasons at Boise.
Since the departure of Dan Quinn and subsequent promotion of D.J. Durkin from special teams coordinator to defensive coordinator, Will Muschamp has been looking for a coach to fill in as the Gators’ special teams coordinator job.
Boise State had a very productive special teams unit under Choate. The Broncos blocked a combined 28 punts and kicks during a six-year span under him. To put that into perspective, the Gators blocked a combined 24 punts and kicks in the same time period, while having what was considered widely to be one of the best special team units in the entire country.
Choate also coached Kyle Brotzman while at Boise. Brotzman is the highest-scoring kicker in NCAA history (439 points) and the Broncos’ all-time leader in punting average (44.6 yards-per-punt).
After accepting the job at UTEP, Choate received high praise from the Miners new head coach, Sean Kugler.
“Coach Choate is the epitome of an energizer bunny. His motor runs full 24/7.” Kugler said on the Miners’ official website. “He was probably the top special teams coach in the country when he was at Boise State. He is one of the best recruiters you’ll ever be around. He got the Texas pipeline started at Boise State. I’m excited about the unmatched energy he’s going to bring on a daily basis to our program.”
Choate has also found success coaching other positions as well. With no coach currently assigned to the linebackers, this is another area Choate will take on at Florida.
With Choate manning the linebackers, the Broncos finished with with the No. 14 ranked scoring (17.1 ppg) and total defense (300.2 ypg) in the country in 2009. They were even better in his second year, finishing with the No. 2 ranked scoring (12.8 ppg) and total defense (254.7) in the nation.
The addition of Choate brings the Gators’ coaching staff back up to full strength. With the new recruiting period already underway, expect Choate to be out on the road recruiting for the Gators immediately.