Matt Rhule is an elite college program builder, but would he leave the NFL?
No doubt about it. Matt Rhule would thrive if he took over at Auburn. The former elite college program builder of Temple and Baylor fame is now entering his third year leading the NFL‘s Carolina Panthers. Though Rhule’s seat could be slightly warm entering his third year on the job in Charlotte, is Auburn a college job worth leaving an NFL gig for? It is not the Michigan Wolverines.
Had Jim Harbaugh left Michigan, Rhule probably would have entertained the Wolverines job. He may be a Penn State alum, but jobs like Michigan rarely open. Though Auburn is a blue-blood program, it is not the same level as Michigan. While Rhule won at Baylor, this is the SEC. Even if he were to leave Carolina for Auburn, this will be arguably the toughest challenge he will inherit.
The fact this is not a no-brainer signifies Rhule would be more likely to stay than to go to Auburn.
Kevin Steele has strong Auburn ties and should take the job if it is available
The best hire the Tigers could make this late into the cycle is see if their former defensive coordinator and interim head coach Kevin Steele wants to come back. Steele has been with his alma mater Tennessee, Maryland and now Miami in the last year. He may be recruiting for Mario Cristobal now, but if Auburn calls, he has to take the job and become the Tigers’ next head coach.
Steele may have been a disaster in his first go-around as a head coach, but that was with Baylor two decades ago. Since then, Steele has re-established himself as one of the best defensive coordinators in the Power 5. He has deep SEC experience and has strong recruiting ties the reason. If Auburn wants to put out a grease fire, then Allen Greene needs to give Steele a buzz.
It’s not like Steele has been in Coral Gables for all that long to begin with, so he would come.