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Was FSU DC Charles Kelly snubbed from Broyles Award consideration?

Making a case for the Florida State defensive coordinator.

Charles Kelly
Charles Kelly
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Dalvin Cook won't be considered for the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation's top running back. Jalen Ramsey didn't make the cut for the Thorpe Award, presented to the country's best defensive back. And Roberto Aguayo isn't a finalist for the prize recognizing the most elite kicker in the land, the Groza Award. And, most recently, a Seminole coach got in on snub-season as well.

That's because the finalists for the 2015 Broyles Award, bestowed annually by the Rotary Club of Little Rock to the nation's top assistant coach, were announced on Monday afternoon, and there was a notable omission. Charles Kelly, the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach at Florida State has assembled an elite defense this season, yet he's not a finalist. The finalists are:

  • Kirby Smart, Alabama, Defensive Coordinator/Inside Linebackers
  • Kendal Briles, Baylor, Offensive Coordinator
  • Brent Venables, Clemson, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
  • Gene Chizik, North Carolina, Defensive Coordinator
  • Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks

Comparing offensive coaches to defensive coaches can prove rather difficult, but as far as the latter are concerned, an argument can most certainly be made on Kelly's behalf, specifically regarding the inclusion of one particular candidate. It's almost impossible to argue with Smart's inclusion. He arrived in Tuscaloosa in 2007, and the Tide have fielded a top-ten scoring defense every season since 2008; for his efforts, Smart took home the Broyles in 2009. Similarly, Chizik has dramatically improved the UNC defense from 119th in the country last year, before his arrival in Chapel Hill, to 19th this season, a big reason for the Heels' 11-1 finish this season.

But Venables? While he's deservedly well respected, has he earned the nod over Kelly? Each coach lost four defenders to the NFL draft from last year's defense, and each coached eight All-ACC selections this season. But the Clemson defense has actually regressed from last year, dropping from third in scoring to 16th. Kelly's 'Noles, on the other hand, made a dramatic jump in the right direction, improving from 50th in 2014 to sixth this season. And Kelly is the only defensive coordinator in the country whose defense did not allow a 25-point game at any point in the 2015 regular season.

There is a silver lining, however, for Seminole fans who are excited about Kelly's future with Florida State: the last two winners of the Broyles Award, Tom Herman (with Ohio State last year) and Pat Narduzzi (with Michigan State in 2013), have since moved on to become head coaches at other schools (Houston and Pittsburgh, respectively). FSU defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews was the first recipient of the award, in 1996.