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January 22, 2014

Charles Kelly - FSU's new defensive coordinator

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FSU assistant coach Charles Kelly will be the Seminoles next defensive coordinator, sources are telling Warchant.com.

Kelly coached linebackers and special teams in his first year at Florida State. FSU returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, including one in the national title game, and had a hand in implementing Jeremy Pruitt's defense last season before he left for Georgia after the title game. He is currently under contract for $275,000 per year, but was in line for a raise with the rest of FSU's coaching staff and will likely see a significant pay bump to go along with his new responsibilities.

Kelly came to FSU from Georgia Tech and had served as the interim defensive coordinator for the final eight games of 2012, replacing Al Groh. While with the Yellow Jackets, he oversaw a defensive turnaround that propelled Georgia Tech to a 5-3 finish and a win against USC in the Sun Bowl. Georgia Tech's defense held opponents to just 331 yards per game over the final eight games of the 2012 season, including holding FSU to 328 in the ACC title game. Before Kelly took over, Georgia Tech allowed at least 510 yards and 42 points in each of its first three games.

Kelly spent seven seasons at Georgia Tech, working as the special teams coordinator from 2006-07, cornerbacks coach from 2008-09 and his final three seasons as the Yellow Jackets' defensive secondary coach before his interim defensive coordinator stint.

His background with defensive backs fit with what Fisher has said he wanted out of a defensive coordinator, and his familiarity with the offense and FSU's current recruiting situation were positive factors for him in the process as well.

Kelly worked with Fisher on the Auburn coaching staff in 1993 as a graduate assistant while Fisher was in his first year as the Tigers' quarterbacks coach. Prior to coming to Georgia Tech, Kelly was the defensive coordinator at Jacksonville State and Nichols State. He's also had a hand in recruiting in both Georgia and Alabama for FSU in his first year.

Update: There are multiple media reports that current defensive line coach Sal Sunseri will be given the additional title of associate head coach.



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