No, Blake Baker has not been relieved of his duties.
No, Jim Leavitt has not been rumored to the Miami Hurricanes for any position on the staff.
Yes, Manny Diaz should contact him if there so happened to be a defensive coordinator vacancy at The U.
Let’s meet Jim, shall we?
Flashback to that wild and crazy year in 2007 when the college football gods could not decide on who was worthy enough to remain atop the rankings. The USC Trojans, LSU Tigers, West Virginia Mountaineers, Florida Gators, Oklahoma Sooners, California Bears, and Ohio State Buckeyes all found themselves ranked in the top three at some point in both the AP and Coaches Poll before the BCS rankings were released.
That season was such an outlier, the Kansas Jayhawks reached a BCS number two ranking in week 13, and the Missouri Tigers were the top ranked team in the BCS as late as week 14.
But it was the initial BCS rankings that were unveiled in week eight that took college football by surprise. Jim Leavitt’s South Florida Bulls were victorious over the then 17th ranked Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare stadium in their second game of the season. That win helped propel the Bulls to the number two spot in the first installment of the BCS.
It was during his time at USF that Leavitt made a name for himself on the national scene as someone who could potentially be the next great hire at a big time program. A hard-nosed defensive mind that is known to get in the faces of his players, Leavitt is a no nonsense individual...what you see is what you get.
Throughout his time in Tampa which spanned from 1997-2009, he compiled a 95-27 record including three, nine win seasons, and a 3-2 bowl record. The star defender in that magical 2007 for the Bulls was George Selvie who tallied 14.5 sacks and 31.5 tackles for loss in Leavitt’s scheme. But the name that Leavitt is most known for producing out of USF is the fifteenth overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft, Super Bowl champion, and three time Pro Bowl selection which starred for him in 2009 - Jason Pierre-Paul.
Leavitt’s dismissal from the program came after an investigation found he struck one of his players in the locker room during a halftime, Leavitt denied the allegations.
His tenure at USF was followed by an NFL stint under Jim Harbaugh with the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-2014. He coached the linebacker unit throughout the entire Harbaugh era, a group that was regarded as the best in the NFL. Patrick Willis, Navarro Bowman, Aldon Smith, and Ahmad Brooks were some of the notable names he worked with.
Following his time in the NFL, Leavitt spent the 2015 and 2016 seasons as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at the University of Colorado. His expertise saw the Buffaloes defense ascend to new heights in 2016 as he led a unit that finished the regular season eighth in the nation in yards per play (4.69), 17th in the nation in total defense (328.3 ypg), 13th in passing defense (182.5 ypg) and 18th in scoring defense (20.5 ppg).
He is now employed as the defensive coordinator at Florida Atlantic University who is allowing 16.5 points per game.
As someone who has knowledge in both the 3-4 and 4-3 defenses, Leavitt is an aggressive defensive mind that would mesh well with what Manny Diaz wants to accomplish. He likely would also coach the linebacker position, a group that seemed to be out of position at times throughout this season.
Being a former head coach in college and having NFL experience coaching an elite unit, Leavitt would fit nicely on the Hurricanes staff helping Manny Diaz grow as he enters his third season as a first time head coach. His familiarity recruiting the state of Florida is a plus, and who knows if the Harlingen, Texas native has recruiting inroads in his home state where high school football is king. However, it is his approach to the game that Miami is lacking the most.
Leavitt would have the Miami Hurricanes defense living in the backfield, and his fiery attitude is something that is sorely lacking on the defensive side of the ball. Fans notice the edge that Rhett Lashlee brings to games and his intensity has helped revamp a Miami offense. One could only imagine that Leavitt’s intensity would find its way on to the field as well.
If current Miami Hurricanes defensive coordinator Blake Baker is given his walking papers, this is the first call Manny Diaz should make. Is there another hashtag in the making?
Jim Leavitt career (head coach unless noted)
1978–1979 Missouri (GA)
1980–1981 Dubuque (DC/LB)
1982 Morningside (ST)
1983–1987 Morningside (DC)
1988 Iowa (intern)
1989 Iowa (GA)
1990–1991 Kansas State (LB)
1992–1995Kansas State (co-DC/LB)
1997–2009 South Florida
2011–2014 San Francisco 49ers (LB)
2015–2016 Colorado (DC/LB)
2017–2018 Oregon (DC/LB)
2019 Florida State (Analyst)
2020–present Florida Atlantic (DC)