"He wants to remain at Florida on (Coach) Jim McElwain's staff," a source said.
Rumph has been considered one of Florida’s best assistants and recruiters as Florida’s defensive line coach under McElwain. He helped mold Caleb Brantley into a potential first-round prospect and has landed plenty of defensive line talent since taking over for Terrell Williams — McElwain’s first defensive line coach at Florida, who served in the role almost exclusively as a recruiter, and did so only until National Signing Day in 2015 before returning to the NFL to serve as the Miami Dolphins’ defensive line coach — in February 2015.
Florida freshman Antonneous Clayton was the highest-rated player in the Gators’ 2016 recruiting class, and Florida commit Zachary Carter is likely to be one of the highest-rated players in the Gators’ 2017 class. But both of those players are defensive ends, and Rumph’s inability to land defensive tackles on the recruiting trail has been a sore spot for some fault-finding critics.
Rumph has also been an in-demand assistant for years, having previously coached at Clemson, Alabama, and Texas before arriving at Florida. And if he were going to leave Gainesville, timing that move to coincide with his son — Buchholz High outside linebacker and Duke commit Chris Rumph II — graduating from high school would make some sense.
But Clemson’s interest in Rumph comes as a significant surprise, with no indications that he was a risk to leave Florida burbling on message boards or social media despite the month between the College Football Playoff and National Signing Day — which includes the American Football Coaches Association’s convention, a popular event for coaches, agents, and reporters alike — being a prime period for speculation.
Clemson is certainly looking for at least one defensive line coach, having lost defensive tackles coach Dan Brooks to retirement and defensive ends coach Marion Hobby to the NFL. The timing and out-of-the-blue nature of McMurphy’s report, though, are almost enough for me to wonder whether McMurphy’s source — good enough to mention Jim McElwain by name, you’ll notice — was happy to tell McMurphy something that makes Florida look good for retaining a talented assistant pursued by the reigning national champions.