Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Jay Sawvel to be named new Wake Forest defensive coordinator

Former Minnesota defensive coordinator Jay Sawvel agrees to take same position with Wake Forest.

Demon Deacon Digest has learned that Jay Sawvel will be announced as the new defensive coordinator at Wake Forest. 

Sawvel interviewed with Wake coach Dave Clawson during the weekend and was offered the position shortly thereafter. He has accepted the job, and an official announcement is forthcoming. 

Sawvel began his coaching career as a graduate assistant in 1994 for Eastern Kentucky, and has had stints at Notre Dame, Ferris State, Southern Illinois, Northern Illinois and most recently Minnesota. He was not retained when P.J. Fleck took the head coaching job for the Gophers earlier this month. 

2016 was his first year as defensive coordinator at Minnesota, where his Golden Gophers finished 21st in the nation in total defense, allowing just 348.8 yards per game. They also finished 21st in scoring defense at 22.1 points a game. The Gophers finished tied with Wake at 18th in the county in turnover margin, finishing at +8 on the season. 

Prior to taking over the entire defense, Sawvel was the defensive backs coach where he led a squad that sent players to the NFL Draft three-consecutive seasons: Brock Vereen in 2014, Cedric Thompson in 2015 and Eric Murray in 2016.  

The Wake defensive coordinator position was open after Mike Elko left the Deacs to take the same position at Notre Dame. Robb Smith, who reportedly also interviewed for the Wake position, ironically landed with Fleck at Minnesota. 

With the addition of Sawvel, Lyle Hemphill and Wayne Lineburg, the Deacs coaching staff is once again complete. 


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