For reasons undisclosed, Callahan won’t return to a Gator pass defense that totaled 14 interceptions in 2015 and a secondary led by first team All-American Vernon Hargreaves with three others in the unit also receiving recognition.
Sources say that McElwain still has a lot of respect for Callahan both as a coach and a person, but he wasn’t the right fit for what was going on at Florida right now and has been negatively recruited against in areas that he covers in recruiting.
"We are making a change on our staff," McElwain said in a written statement. "Moving forward, Kirk Callahan will be looking at some other opportunities and he has a long career ahead of him."
Callahan was hired last January from UCF and in his one season at Florida seemed to have his players playing at a high level throughout the year minus the Citrus Bowl where several mistakes were costly in the blowout to Michigan.
With Callahan out, the Gators are now in search of a secondary coach that will have some quality personnel returning in cornerbacks Jalen Tabor and Quincy Wilson. Both Tabor and Wilson will be juniors in 2016 and have extensive experience on the field. Tabor has All-SEC and All-American accolades to his name already and is expected to be star in 2016.
The Gators return numbers at safety, but are still waiting on the final word of junior Marcus Maye and whether he will forego his senior season for the NFL. Maye so far has maintained he is staying for his senior season. Duke Dawson, Marcell Harris, and Nick Washington all have a good deal of playing time at safety and will be returning as well.
Florida is currently ranked third in the country on Scout.com in terms of recruiting in the secondary. Florida has commitments from 4-star corners McArthur Burnett and Chauncey Gardner, and 4-star safety Jeawon Taylor. The Gators also have commitments from corners C.J. McWilliams and Tony Nelson along with safety Quincy Lenton. Burnett and Gardner are already enrolled on campus. Florida is also pursuing 4-star cornerback Kristian Fulton.
It looks like an enviable group for a coach to walk into and coach and with about three weeks left in the recruiting cycle, McElwain will strive to move fast to name Callahan’s replacement.