Deion Sanders – Jackson State
The most obvious name on this list is obviously Sanders, who has successfully brought Jackson State into the national spotlight since his arrival on campus in 2020. During his time with the Tigers, he has compiled a 16-5 overall record and has them currently undefeated. As important as his on-field accomplishments have been his off-the-field performance has been even more impressive. The publicity he has brought to the program, while recruiting at an elite level, makes him an immensely intriguing candidate for basically any school that has an opening this year. Two schools that have already been mentioned are Georgia Tech, due to his ties with the Atlanta area, and Auburn, which doesn’t have an opening yet but will almost surely have one in the next month.
Jay Hill – Weber State
Likely not a name many FBS fans are familiar with, but one that they should get accustomed to. Hill played at Utah and once his collegiate career ended in 1999, he coached with the Utes until 2013 when he was hired by Weber State. After his first season in Ogden, which finished at 2-10, the Wildcats have been 62-27 under Hill’s leadership, including a 6-1 start this fall. He has also led Weber State to four Big Sky Conference titles and five trips to the FCS playoffs. Hill has also impressed against FBS competition, with a narrow 6-0 loss in 2019 to a San Diego State team that finished 10-3 and then a dominating 35-7 victory this season against Utah State. For now, Colorado is the job that makes the most sense, but his name will be mentioned with other schools as more opportunities arise.
Troy Taylor – Sacramento State
While Hill is a defensive-minded coach, Taylor’s expertise is on the offensive side of the ball. A quarterback at Cal, he finished his collegiate career as the Golden Bear’s all-time leading passer (8,126 yards). He was then selected in the 4th Round of the 1990 NFL Draft by the New York Jets and eventually played in seven games in the league before starting his coaching career at the high school level back in California in 1994. After two years as a high school coach, he became an assistant at Cal from 1996 to 2000 before returning to coach high school for 15 years. In 2016 he returned to the collegiate level at Eastern Washington, before making a move to Utah for two seasons as the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach. This led him to be named the head coach at Sacramento State in late 2018, where he has since coached the Hornets to a 25-7 record. This includes a 7-0 start this fall, which has seen the offense average 45.9 points per game. There have been plenty of rumors that Cal will undergo a coaching change after this season, which immediately will make Taylor a popular replacement considering his ties to the program.
Matt Entz - North Dakota State
The previous two head coaches for the Bison, Craig Bohl to Wyoming and Chris Klieman to Kansas State, have made the move to the FBS ranks, so why not Entz? Entz has been with North Dakota State since 2014 and has been the head coach since 2019 when Klieman departed for Manhattan, Kansas. During his time as head coach, he has successfully maintained the program’s dominance in the FCS with two more National Championships and a 42-6 overall record. As a negative, he has no other head coaching experience and has never coached at the FBS level, but with his success in Fargo and with Klieman’s current success at Kansas State, a program may be willing to give Entz an opportunity.
Bob Chesney – Holy Cross
Chesney has proven himself to be a winner as a head coach at the D3, D2 and now FCS level, so an FBS opportunity is likely coming. Spending his entire coaching career in the Northeast and New England, his first head coaching opportunity came at Division III Salve Regina in Rhode Island, where he compiled a 23-9 record in three seasons. He then took over at Division II Assumption in Massachusetts where in five seasons he led the Greyhounds to a 44-16 record and three playoff appearances. This success led him to Holy Cross, where after a 5-6 first season in 2018, the Crusaders have been 27-10, including a 7-0 start this fall. During his time with Holy Cross, he has led the team to three FCS playoff appearances. A defensive minded coach, it is only a matter of time that you will see Chesney coaching at an FBS program.