It now appears Mark Richt's biggest target in the search is current LSU and former Tennessee defensive coordinator John Chavis. LSU head coach Les Miles has said that he is aware of Georgia's interest in Chavis.
I was told yesterday morning by someone close to the Tennessee program that Chavis is now Georgia's number one target, and that Vic Koenning, who seemed headed to Georgia, was turned away because Chavis and Richt had already come to some sort of tentative agreement.
In fact, according to that same person, Richt offered to talk with Illinois coach Ron Zook about keeping Koenning after the confusion a few weeks ago.
Veteran Tennessee beat reporter, and current SEC reporter at ESPN Chris Low has a lengthy report regarding Chavis this morning. Low writes that Richt is "prepared to throw some serious money at the veteran defensive coordinator."
However, I can confirm that Richt has been extremely quiet even inside the program regarding who will be the next defensive coordinator at Georgia. For the most part speculation has been the name of the game in the media, but the Chavis rumblings are strong now and momentum certainly seems to have swung his way.
If Chavis ends up as the Georgia defensive coordinator numerous people, including folks inside the program as well as those with knowledge about Chavis' interest, think that Richt had the deal worked out before he and the Bulldogs headed to the Independence Bowl.
I should also add that the same person close to the Tennessee program said that Chavis is eager to get back into the SEC East, and to be able to compete against the Vols year in and year out.
Chavis makes $450,000 annually, but has the ability to gather $115,000 in bonuses. He is completing the first year of a three-year contract at LSU. He coached with current Georgia defensive line coach Rodney Garner with the pair was at Tennessee. Chavis still has family in Knoxville, according to Low, and is scheduled to meet with the media Wednesday for a coordinator's press conference at the Capital One Bowl.