Gamecocks hope to retain Ellis Johnson

December, 14, 2011
12/14/11
3:20
PM ET
Ellis Johnson, South Carolina's assistant head coach for the defense, is one of the finalists for the Southern Miss head-coaching job.

Johnson is scheduled to interview with Southern Miss officials later this week. The Golden Eagles are wise to talk with Johnson, who's established himself as one of the top defensive minds in the SEC. Johnson has also proved to be an excellent recruiter for the Gamecocks. He was the point guy on Jadeveon Clowney, who was recently named the Freshman of the Year in the SEC.

Johnson would like to be a head coach again, but he also wants it to be the right fit. He was the head coach at The Citadel from 2001-03.

Whether or not Southern Miss is a fit remains to be seen. It wouldn't be a move he made for the money. Former Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora was making a little more than $700,000 before he left for North Carolina. Johnson also earned $700,000 this season.

Either way, the Gamecocks don't want to lose him. His experience in this league is invaluable, and South Carolina's defense has gotten better every year he's been there. The Gamecocks are ranked fourth nationally in total defense heading into the Capital One Bowl.

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