Dec. 2 (UPI) -- Notre Dame is expected to hire defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman as its next coach, replacing Brian Kelly, who left the program earlier this week to take the same job at LSU.
Sources told CBS Sports, The Athletic and Sports Illustrated about the expected hire late Wednesday. On Tuesday, Kelly officially accepted a 10-year, $95 million offer from LSU. Several Notre Dame staff members were expected to follow the coach to Baton Rouge, La.
Freeman, 35, joined the Notre Dame staff last off-season. He also worked as a defensive coordinator from 2017 through 2020 at Cincinnati and in 2016 at Purdue.
The former Ohio State linebacker and 2009 NFL Draft pick started his collegiate coaching career in 2010 as a graduate assistant for the Buckeyes. He served as a linebackers coach in 2011 and 2012 at Kent State and held the same role from 2013 through 2015 at Purdue.
Notre Dame offensive coordinator Tommy Rees addressed players Wednesday on the Notre Dame, Ind., campus. He told them he also was not following Kelly to LSU and would remain on the staff. Sources told The Athletic that Rees declined a $400,000 offer from the Tigers to remain with the Irish.
"I love you guys. I love this place," Rees said in a video, posted to the team's social media accounts. "I believe that we can win a National Championship here, and I'm committed to doing everything we can to get to that point.
"This is where my heart is, and my heart is with you guys."
Running game coordinator Lance Taylor and strength coach Matt Balis also are expected to remain on the Notre Dame staff.
Notre Dame (11-1) is the No. 6 team in the College Football Playoff rankings, but could find itself inside the Top 4 after Saturday's conference championship games.
No. 1 Georgia faces No. 3 Alabama at 4 p.m. EST on CBS. No. 4 Cincinnati battles No. 21 Houston at 4 p.m. on ABC. No. 2 Michigan faces No. 13 Iowa at 8 p.m. on Fox.
Notre Dame starts its 2022 campaign against Ohio State on Sept. 3 in Columbus, Ohio.