Jeff Phelps
Jeff  Phelps

Defensive Line


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Jeff Phelps is in his sixth year as an assistant coach with the Golden Gophers. He coaches the defensive line.

Phelps coached an injury-riddled defensive line in 2015, as starting tackles Scott Ekpe and Steve Richardson both missed extensive time and Gary Moore redshirted. The Gophers still produced 22 sacks last season and yielded 2,163 yards on the ground, which is the second-fewest amount since Phelps has been at Minnesota. 

In 2014, 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.

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. The Minneapolis native notched 38 tackles, 13 tackles-for-loss, two sacks, one interception, eight pass breakups and one fumble recovery.

Cockran also had 30 tackles, 10 of which were for a loss, and led Minnesota with 7.5 sacks. He led 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.

Hageman was drafted in the second round by the Atlanta Falcons in 2014 to become Minnesota's first defensive lineman selected since 2006. 

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.


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

B.S., Ball State, 1998

High School
Crete-Monee (Ill.), 1994

Chicago, Ill.

November 30, 1976


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