Jeff Phelps has completed his fourth year as an assistant coach with the Golden Gophers. He coaches the defensive line.
Phelps coached two 2014 honorable mention All-Big Ten selections in Cameron Botticelli and Theiren Cockran. Botticelli, a former walk-on, started every game and made 9.0 tackles-for-loss (3.0 sacks) as part of his 29 tackles. Cockran made 23 tackles, seven of which were for a loss (4.0 sacks), and added two pass breakups, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Four true freshmen gained experience under Phelps' watch in 2014. These included Steven Richardson, the team's Outstanding Defensive Freshmen of the Year, and Gaelin Elmore, who was originally brought in as a tight end.
In 2013, Phelps coached a defensive line that was anchored by first team All-Big Ten honoree and AP third-team All-American Ra'Shede Hageman. Hageman, who was drafted in the second round by the Atlanta Falcons, put up impressive numbers under Phelps, as he notched 38 tackles, 13 tackles-for-loss, two sacks, one interception, eight pass breakups and one fumble recovery.
Cockran also flourished under Phelps' direction in 2013. Cockran had 30 tackles, 10 of which were for a loss, and led Minnesota with 7.5 sacks. Heled the Big Ten with four forced fumbles (tied for 13th in the nation) and was also named second-team All-Big Ten by the media.
Phelps joined the Minnesota staff after spending five years coaching at Northern Illinois. From 2008-2010, he coached the Huskies' defensive line. In 2006-07, Phelps was responsible for coaching the Huskie defensive tackles.
Phelps coached defensive end Larry English at NIU. English went on to be named the Mid-American Conference's Most Valuable Player twice and was the 2008 MAC Defensive Player of the Year. He was the 16th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, going to the San Diego Chargers.
Phelps began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Ball State in 1999. He then spent three seasons at DePauw, where he coached the running backs for two seasons before going to the defensive side of the ball to coach the linebackers. He then spent three seasons at Hillsdale (Mich.) College, where he coached the defensive line from 2003-05 before joining the staff at NIU.
Phelps was a Second-Team All-MAC player at outside linebacker for Ball State following his senior season in 1997. He was also an Honorable Mention All-MAC selection as a junior. The Chicago native holds a bachelor's degree from Ball State.
Phelps is a graduate of Crete-Monee High School, where he was a three-sport standout, earning seven letters - football (2), wrestling (2), track and field (3).
He and his wife Tyla have a son, Carsen, and a daughter, Harlyn.
THE PHELPS FILE
Coaching Experience 2011-present: Minnesota - Defensive Line 2008-10: Northern Illinois - Defensive Line 2006-07: Northern Illinois - Defensive Tackiles 2003-05: Hillsdale College - Defensive Line 2000-02: DePauw University - Linebackers/Running Backs 1999: Ball State - Graduate Assistant
Playing Experience Ball State (Linebacker), 1994-97