Ekeler to round out Heupel's first staff at Tennessee

University of Georgia photo by John Kelley / Former Georgia inside linebackers coach Mike Ekeler, shown here shouting instructions from the sideline in 2015, will be the new special teams coordinator at Tennessee.

Tennessee has targeted North Texas special teams coordinator Mike Ekeler for the same role with the Volunteers.

The hiring of Ekeler would round out Josh Heupel's inaugural 10-member coaching staff.

Ekeler is no stranger to the Southeastern Conference, serving as Georgia's inside linebackers coach during Mark Richt's final two seasons with the Bulldogs in 2014-15. Amarlo Herrera, Ramik Wilson and UAB transfer Jake Ganus were the notable inside linebackers Ekeler worked with during his time in Athens, with Georgia's 2015 defense allowing just 305.8 yards per game to rank seventh nationally.

In addition to inside linebackers coach, Ekeler also had the title of defensive special teams coordinator while at Georgia.

Ekeler became the defensive coordinator at North Texas in 2016 but then left to become North Carolina's linebackers coach for the 2017-18 seasons.