But more than a half-dozen schools, many at the Group of Five level, are still looking. And the second wave of hiring – among coordinators and other assistant coaches – is largely yet to come.
As part of USA TODAY Sports' annual review of assistant coach compensation, here's a look at six assistants who figure to be highly sought-after on the job market over the next few weeks – as potential head coaches, or coordinators – and what they're making in total compensation this year.
Alex Atkins, Florida State
Position: offensive coordinator/offensive line
Total pay: $850,000
Florida State appeared to turn the corner in head coach Mike Norvell's third season, largely on the strength of an offense that led the Atlantic Coast Conference in yards per play during the regular season (6.86) and led the country in plays of 20 yards or more (88). While Norvell is an offensive-minded head coach, Atkins, 38, deserves a lot of credit for the unit's performance. The first-year offensive coordinator is likely to be in line for a raise in Year 2 – assuming, of course, that another school isn't able to woo him away.
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Tashard Choice, Texas
Position: running backs
Total pay: $500,000
Another young coach on the rise, Choice has worked his way up from North Texas to Georgia Tech to Texas in a span of four years. Though the former NFL running back is making decent money at Texas this year, he is also just the seventh highest-paid assistant on the Longhorns' staff. It's possible that another Power Five school could try to pry him away from Austin this winter with a more lucrative contract, or perhaps a coordinator title.
Jimmie Dougherty, Arizona
Position: passing game coordinator/quarterbacks
Total pay: $450,000
The Wildcats fell just short of bowl eligibility at 5-7, but their top-10 passing attack was a notable bright spot. Dougherty, who previously coached wide receivers at Washington and UCLA, has helped sophomore quarterback Jayden de Laura blossom into one of the conference's top young signal-callers. The second-year starter ranked eighth in the Football Bowl Subdivision in passing yards during the regular season.
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Jesse Minter, Michigan
Position: defensive coordinator
Total pay: $900,000
Minter, 39, was one of five finalists for this year's Broyles Award, which is given annually to college football's top assistant coach. And he's already being talked about as a potential candidate for head coaching vacancies. It's no surprise given Minter's coaching résumé – he's spent eight years as a defensive coordinator, plus four as an NFL assistant – and Michigan's defensive consistency this season.
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Glenn Schumann, Georgia
Position: co-defensive coordinator/inside linebackers
Total pay: $805,000
Since Kirby Smart took over at Georgia, the Bulldogs' defense has typically been dominant and its coordinators have typically been hot commodities on the coaching market; two of the men who most recently held the role are now head coaches at Oregon (Dan Lanning) and Michigan State (Mel Tucker). Schumann, 32, might very well be next in line. As co-defensive coordinator alongside Will Muschamp, he's been a force on the recruiting trail and helped keep the Bulldogs humming.
Ryan Walters, Illinois
Position: defensive coordinator
Total pay: $1.3 million
A little more than a year ago, Illinois gave Walters a three-year contract extension that made him one of the highest-paid defensive coordinators in the country. But after another stellar season, the 36-year-old could be in line for another pay bump because he could soon be fielding offers for head coaching jobs. Under Walters' guidance, the Fighting Illini gave up just 14 touchdowns in 12 regular-season games.
Contributing: Steve Berkowitz and Dan Wolken
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: College football's next big coach? Keep an eye on these assistants