The search to replace Marion Hobby will continue into the weekend. Clemson has not interviewed any candidates at this point. We have confirmed two candidates that are scheduled to be interviewed in the near future.
We released Chris Rumph from Memphis earlier in the week. Rumph has been in contact with Clemson, but Rumph has not been on campus as of Thursday evening.
We were able to confirm Thursday that Clemson has had talks with Troy defensive line coach Mike Pelton. Pelton did coach under Vic Koenning at Troy, and he is familiar with Koenning’s system.
Here is the official bio on Pelton:
Mike Pelton just ended his fifth season with the Trojans overall and his fourth working in his current capacity with the defensive ends. During that short time, Pelton has helped produce two of the most dominant rush ends in school history in Demarcus Ware, drafted in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys, and Osi Umenyiora, drafted in the 2004 second round by the New York Giants. Both players received various all-conference and all-independent honors under his tutelage.
During Pelton's tenure, the Trojan defense has been consistently among the national leaders in several defensive categories. It ranked eighth nationally in rushing defense and 16th in total defense during the 2004 season after coming in 26th and 39th, respectively, in those categories the year before. In 2002, the Trojans' defense finished that season ranked fourth nationally in total defense, allowing just 276.83 yards per game to opponents. The Trojans were ranked 11th in pass defense, allowing 171.58 yards per game, and 13th in rushing defense (105.25 ypg). In scoring defense, the Trojans ranked 30th, allowing only 21 points per contest.
As a unit, the Troy defense ranked fourth nationally in total defense in 2002. The Trojans allowed just 276.83 yards per game to opponents in 12 games, ranking behind only Texas Christian (240.25), Kansas State (249) and Alabama (257.31), respectively. Troy was ranked 11th in pass defense, allowing 171.58 yards per game, and 13th in rushing defense (105.25 ypg). In scoring defense, the Trojans ranked 30th, allowing only 21 points per contest.
In 2001, Pelton coached two of the team’s top seven tacklers in juniors Jose Gamboa and Davern Williams, who finished with 65 and 61 stops, respectively, to lead all linemen. Williams was taken in the seventh round of the NFL Draft in April 2003 by the Miami Dolphins.
Pelton worked at Troy as a graduate assistant in 1999 and then returned to the Trojans in 2001 after spending 2000 as the defensive line coach at Division II powerhouse Valdosta State.
A four-year letter winner at Auburn from 1991-94, Pelton earned first-team All-Southeastern Conference and second-team All-America honors in 1994. During his career, the Tigers won a school-record 20 consecutive games during his final two seasons and posted an 11-0 record in 1993. While at Auburn, Pelton was the recipient of the Zeke Smith Award as the team’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1994.
He once recorded 23 tackles in a game against Vanderbilt, on Oct. 12, 1991, which is tied for third most in school history.
At Valdosta State in 2000, Pelton helped coach a defensive unit that finished second in the conference in pass defense. The Blazers posted a 10-2 record and finished in a three-way tie for the conference championship with Delta State and West Georgia. They lost to eventual national champion Delta State in the first round of the Division II playoffs.
Pelton has also worked two summers as part of the NFL’s Minority Internship program, working with the Atlanta Falcons in 2002 and the Washington Redskins in 2004.
A native of Goshen, Ala., Pelton was drafted in the fifth round by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 1995 NFL Draft. He moved to the Indianapolis Colts a year later as a free agent.
There has been no indication as to whether Rumph or Pelton is the leading candidate. We expect both to be interviewed and a decision could be made shortly after.