Sep 29, 2018; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish defensive coordinator Clark Lea watches warmups before the game against the Stanford Cardinal at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Monday night update> The deal is done. Clark is the new head coach at Vanderbilt.


Original post>

Notre Dame defensive coordinator Clark Lea is the top target to become Vanderbilt’s head coach and a deal is expected soon, FootballScoop can confirm. The news was first reported by ESPN.

Lea was mentioned as a candidate for this job the moment Vanderbilt announced Derek Mason’s dismissal. A Nashville native and a former Commodores fullback, Lea now leads Notre Dame’s defense, one of the best in the country. Notre Dame is No. 12 nationally in scoring defense, holding five opponents to 13 points or fewer. The Irish’s best performance was a 31-17 win over North Carolina, where Notre Dame limited the nation’s No. 8 scoring offense 40 percent of its scoring average and its lowest single-game output of the year.

Lea and the No. 2 Fighting Irish will face No. 3 Clemson in the ACC Championship on Saturday. Barring a catastrophic loss, the Irish will then advance to the College Football Playoff, whose semifinals are on Jan. 1.

Vanderbilt AD Candice Storey Lee mentioned specifically that the school was looking to juice up its offense with the new regime, so the school would have to be impressed with Lea’s plan for his offensive coordinator hire in order to move forward with his candidacy.

Vanderbilt, 0-9 on the season, will complete its regular season against No. 9 Georgia on Saturday.

As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.

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National columnist - Zach joined the staff in 2012...and has been attempting to improve Doug and Scott's writing ability ever since (to little avail). Outside of football season, you can find him watching the San Antonio Spurs reading Game of Thrones fan theories.