Since arriving to Cincinnati in March 2020, Perry Eliano wasted no time proving he is one of the best cornerback mentors in the country in his first two seasons with the Bearcats. Cincinnati has gone 22-1 since Eliano’s arrival, won back-to-back American Athletic Conference Championships and advanced to the College Football Playoff Semifinals at the Cotton Bowl. In 2021, Coby Bryant won the 2021 Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation’s best defensive back, and Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner was selected to his third All-AAC First Team, this time unanimously. Bryant was also named to the all-conference First Team for the second straight year. Cincinnati had the nation’s best pass defense in 2021, finishing No. 1 in the country in pass efficiency defense (100.47), No. 2 in passing yards allowed (168.3), No. 3 in interceptions (18) and No. 4 in opponent completion % (53.5). The Bearcats’ overall defense has been outstanding as well, ranking fourth nationally in scoring defense (16.1) and No. 7 in total defense (305.8). Eliano has spent more than 20 seasons in the coaching ranks. He came to UC after a two-year stint as the special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach at New Mexico.