UGA’s Todd Grantham gets involved on front end of recruiting process

Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham loves the recruiting aspect of college coaching, and the Bulldogs have benefited from that. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham loves the recruiting aspect of college coaching, and the Bulldogs have benefited from that. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS -- For the most part, I stay out of recruiting these days. The AJC’s Michael Carvell does an outstanding job of taking care of that. But it’s hard not to notice the positive impact Todd Grantham has had on Georgia’s recruiting.

What is somewhat unusual is how intensely Grantham is involved in recruiting despite being a defensive coordinator. Oftentimes, coordinators reserve their involvement until late in the process. That’s because they have so much responsibility with regard to game-planning and lineups and the like. But since he arrived in Athens three years ago, Grantham has been as active on the recruiting trail as he has been in the meeting room, and he does it on the front end.

Outside linebacker/defensive-end types such as Sterling Bailey, Ray Drew, Josh Dawson, Josh Harvey-Clemons and Jordan Jenkins have been lining up to come play for Grantham in Athens. The development of All-American Jarvis Jones in Grantham’s fire-zone scheme hasn’t hurt. But, first and foremost, these prospects are getting to know Grantham in recruiting.

I talked to Grantham recently about his philosophy in regarding recruiting and I found his responses to be very interesting. In a nutshell, Grantham sees recruiting as college football’s version of the NFL draft, with which he was involved with for 11 years before becoming the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator

“When I was defensive coordinator in Cleveland, I had a say on the draft board, but I didn’t have final say,” Grantham explained. “At that level, you don’t have the ultimate decision-making power, so you just have to make it work. In college, you have the flexibility to evaluate and recruit whomever you want. And I know this: If you have a talented, raw prospect and you can coach, you can make that guy a good player. It’s easier to coach those kinds of guys. So I like to be involved in it.”

Grantham said he had opportunities to return to college ball before the Bulldogs came calling in 2010. But it was Georgia’s access to an endless stream of talent that got him excited about joining Mark Richt’s staff.

“In pro ball, you have a select number of guys you look at every year and you spend a couple of months dissecting those guys and ranking them,” Grantham said. “The thing that excited me about coming here is, if you go back and look, they’ve been really good on defense here and they’ve had some really good players drafted. I know the type of players they have within of five-hour radius of this school. So the components were there. To me, that was something that was intriguing and excited me about taking this job.”

Evaluation, he said, is the key to identifying the prospects.

“I think you’ve got make sure that you’re bringing in the right kind of guys to your program and that the core of your team is good, the leadership, the locker room,” Grantham said. “You can get a good feel for those guys by being involved in recruiting. Plus, I think it’s important that they know exactly what they’re getting. It’s got to be a good marriage for both. They’ve got to know what they’re coming for and what their expectations are and they’ve got to know what our expectations are. In college you’re allowed to be really involved in that and you can go out and get the players that you want. So that’s why I like to be involved in recruiting. I think it gives you a feel for the chemistry of your team and I think it gives the players a feel for who you are.”

Early projections have Georgia entering the 2012 season as a Top 10 team, and a lot of that has to do with the talent Grantham has coming back on defense. The Bulldogs return nine starters from a unit that finished among the top five nationally in total defense and will boast one of their best front- sevens in years. Suspensions due to off-season discipline issues will delay the top 11 being together for a few games. But Grantham feels his defense has the depth and flexibility it needs whomever is available.

“We’ll get the best players on the field,” he said. “That’s why we do so much cross-training. We had numerous lineups last year. We had quite a few injuries. After the South Carolina game we lost both our starting inside linebackers. . . . So we’re always going to be prepared for situations that come up. It’s real important you don’t pigeon-hole yourself into a situation where you think ‘a guy can only play this or that.’ You want to make sure you can somehow get the next-best guys in the game.”

Thanks to having his hands in recruiting, Grantham thinks those next-best guys will be able to get the job done.

99 comments Add your comment

anotherdawg

June 7th, 2012
1:55 pm

I like it! Go Dawgs!

KINGDAWG

June 7th, 2012
2:01 pm

KINGDAWG

June 7th, 2012
2:03 pm

With that childish 2nd out of the way. It’s good to see the coaches gives that personal touch early in the process.

gg

June 7th, 2012
2:08 pm

Todd Grantham is the kind of coach anybody would want to play for! He’ll find EVERY position you can play, not just one position, and that gives you a better chance to play more snaps. I’m glad he’s a Georgia Bulldog!

Statick

June 7th, 2012
2:15 pm

[...] Chip Towers talks with Todd Grantham about recruiting.  You’ll get some tasty Dawg porn, and a quote like this gives you a feel for what impressed Richt when they first interviewed: Grantham said he had opportunities to return to college ball before the Bulldogs came calling in 2010. But it was Georgia’s access to an endless stream of talent that got him excited about joining Mark Richt’s staff. [...]

Rationale

June 7th, 2012
2:20 pm

Todd Granthan should be declared to be the head coach in waiting at UGA.

chilidawg

June 7th, 2012
2:21 pm

It’s good to see this class filling up with great talent so early in the process. I hope it becomes the norm.

Granthams The Man

June 7th, 2012
2:22 pm

Grantham is The Man!!!

After this season, recruiting will only get easier for Mr Grantham. It’s great to again have a Junk Yard defense in Athens!

tdawg

June 7th, 2012
2:24 pm

A deep, nasty defense = Championships if we can get a little more help from the offense at the right times this year!!! GO DAWGS!!!!!!!!!

Zoli

June 7th, 2012
2:32 pm

Grantham is what we have missing for since Van Gorder’s departure. Thankful to have him as our D coordinator. He has proven to pull some of the states best talent and develop them into superstars. Glad we have him locked in for at least 3 more years.

The Tide is trolling and nothing can stop it

June 7th, 2012
2:36 pm

look at me! look at me!

DouglasDawg

June 7th, 2012
2:40 pm

He has single handed saved CMR job. No doubt about that.
If this team can’t reach the National Championship game then it just aint gonna happen. I know that sounds hard but come on, look at our schedule…. now is the time!

Jim Grabasski

June 7th, 2012
2:43 pm

Al………..You stink. Go back to the GT boards.

Shawn

June 7th, 2012
2:43 pm

The Dawgs will be strong this year. I’m not making any wild predictions but I sure as heck can’t wait for it to begin!

DawginLex

June 7th, 2012
2:44 pm

Al=FOS

tide roll=FOS

Jim Grabasski

June 7th, 2012
2:45 pm

Tide Roll………….

As long as Slick WIllie Martinez is on AU’s coaching staff, you still have a liability.

GT = 10 time loser to Mark Richt

June 7th, 2012
2:48 pm

Hey Toilet Roll = Georgia 45 Auburn 7. ‘Nuff said

Dap01

June 7th, 2012
2:51 pm

AL: you make no sense. CTG recruited most of the “replacements” that you refer to. Go look out of your dorm window and try to find a pretty engineer student.

Jim Grabasski

June 7th, 2012
2:52 pm

Good ‘ol Slick Willie + his awful ‘play the receiver, not the ball’ techniques = plenty of PI penalties and burned DBs for AU.

ARdawg

June 7th, 2012
2:53 pm

Ai

You’re trolling big guy. He was a DC for Dallas when he went to Athens. What teams did he talk with and where did you procure such valuable information?

uncle kirk

June 7th, 2012
2:53 pm

Al

How stupid is that. He brought them in so why would he be unhappy with them. Troll and idiot.

DePort

June 7th, 2012
2:54 pm

Atleast we got one 31 years ago… its better than most programs around the nation… Atleast we have tradition and fans who are fans through all ups and downs… where were the tide fans before Saban? … thats right .. they were in hiding since BB won his last… soo keep talking all you want about UGA but at the end of the day we will still be here winning football games and I hope to see them in the DOME this year!

Jim Grabasski

June 7th, 2012
2:57 pm

We haven’t got a title since 1980, but at least we didn’t have to wait over 50 years like Awburn did……and they only got that one with a bought and paid-for QB.

DawginLex

June 7th, 2012
2:57 pm

AL

Give it a rest. without a link with a direct quote from Grantham, you are TROLLING

My guess is you have never been to Athens, GA on a weekday

Jim Grabasski

June 7th, 2012
2:58 pm

Al……tell us again where you seem to find such valuable information?

Jim Grabasski

June 7th, 2012
2:59 pm

Dawgboy………….Go root for another team if you’re so unhappy.

Jim Grabasski

June 7th, 2012
3:00 pm

My guess is that you already are a fan of another team.

McDawg

June 7th, 2012
3:04 pm

he needs to get after Ruben

Cdpridg

June 7th, 2012
3:04 pm

I love, it love, it love it….getem Grantham…..sicem Dawgs!!

PaulPaul

June 7th, 2012
3:15 pm

Grantham is getting a nice extension and is really happy with his situation. The young men he has recruited are looking forward to playing under him. He will be in Athens a long time and this is from a reliable source. Grantham has no desire to go back to the NFL. He has a desire to send lots of defensive players there from our team in the future. We are going to have a lot of big time recruits because of him mark these words. Some of them will surprise. Fellow Bulldogs don’t respond to posts of people wishing he were leaving.

DawginLex

June 7th, 2012
3:16 pm

Good riddance liar boy

Ron O

June 7th, 2012
3:17 pm

CTG is a great coach and he knows haow to use the players he has. I am not worried about the 1st few games, even the Missouri gamme. The defense will come loaded for bear no matter what.

bham dawg

June 7th, 2012
3:22 pm

i love Grantham’s intensity and passion for coaching and recruiting. we will be lucky to hang onto him if this season turns out the way many are predicting.

DawginLex

June 7th, 2012
3:23 pm

AL

I thought you were leaving?

Bobo, Bobo, a Pirate's Life for Me

June 7th, 2012
3:24 pm

Al,

Sorry everyone is so mean. Anyways, I disagree with your statement, TG has had his hand directly in recruiting for 2 years now. He has had some major talent coming to him. Next year may be a down year, but it won’t be a bad one, and after that he has at least 2 great years of talent and depth ahead of him. I don’t think he will leave UGA after just 3 years (after this year) especially with the talent he has brought in. I think he waits for a head coaching position (which could be in a few years at UGA if Richt gets tired) or goes to another SEC program. I believe he enjoys the college football life. But who knows, big NFL money can lure just about anyone.

Ghost

June 7th, 2012
3:26 pm

Al, Why come on and post something you know absolutely nothing about?Grantham unhappy with some of the best recruits in the nation that he recruited? I wouldn’t be surprised if Grantham did get an NFL job or Head coaching offer at another program , but if he leaves the cupboard is full.

dawg fan

June 7th, 2012
3:27 pm

i hope Dooley has a good year at Tennessee. Otherwise 2013 may see Grantham in Orange.

Curious and Confused

June 7th, 2012
3:38 pm

I just hope that Grantham has a rental house in Grayson and is visiting Robert Nkemdiche everyday that it’s allowed. I would love to see how Grantham could use someone that talented. Hopefully Grantham can cast that vision to Nkemdiche.

7576DAWG

June 7th, 2012
3:38 pm

If there is tension between Grantham and Garner then it is Garners own fault for getting lazy in recruiting as a defensive coach and especially as Recruiting Coordinator. I don’t blame Grantham one bit for taking complete responsibility for the Defensive recruiting and not relying on Garner or for him to decide something.. I do think that Garner has found a little more energy than he has showed before Grantham was hired but I think it is time to retire Garner to a desk job.
If Grantham has the year he had last year or better then it wasn’t a fluke and I would make Grantham Head Coach in Waiting . If Grantham is the real deal Georgia can’t afford to lose him. This year will tell a lot. But if our defense is as good as advertised, offers will be coming left and right for Pro jobs as well as Head coaching jobs at other colleges.

bham dawg

June 7th, 2012
3:39 pm

@South Ga. Dawg… we tried to turn ray drew into something he’s not… with his move to DE he will be able to do what he does best and just turn loose on the QB. He will get a lot of playing time this year but after Cornelius Washington leaves he will be a two year starter at DE.

AdMan

June 7th, 2012
3:43 pm

tide roll …you are truly a dick…and a little one at that…I’ll bet your’re hung like a field mouse….most of you Bama fans are!

BiggDawgK

June 7th, 2012
3:44 pm

CTG for Head Coach in waiting for whenever CMR decides to eventually go and be a missionairy. Then he could hire a proper OC and bump Bobo back to QB coach. It is a lot of fun using initals.

bham dawg

June 7th, 2012
3:53 pm

has a head coach in waiting every actually became the head coach besides jimbo fisher

te29wr

June 7th, 2012
3:57 pm

As a UGA fan I would never be caught on a rivals web site as I have better things to do……like reading what thes fools from othe schools have to say about UGA as they are so uninformed.

Johnny DangerDawg

June 7th, 2012
3:57 pm

Al, I must respectfully disagree with the idea that Grantham will jump to an NFL DC position at the end of this season. He could’ve taken one of those jobs at the conclusion of his final year in Dallas or at the end of the most recent football season. I really don’t think Grantham would’ve left Dallas to take on the horrendous task of building a brand new 3-4 Georgia defense and suffering through the struggles of Year One of the new defense unless he was planning on sticking around long enough to really indulge in the fruits of his labor. He’s certainly putting in the extra work on the recruiting trail like he cares about what he’s building. Of course, everything can change when someone flashes some big dollars to lure him away to a head coaching position. But Grantham won’t decide on those offers until they come to him, and he’s not making secret plans in his head today for how to exit Athens at the end of the year. If he really hated something about Athens, he could’ve left already.

bh

June 7th, 2012
4:00 pm

what is the latest on Nkemdiche?

bham dawg

June 7th, 2012
4:00 pm

@te29wr… don’t ever go check out BOL then. They are somewhat obsessed with UGA and everything we do. The bammers claim us to be irrellevant and bottom of the sec but for some reason they can’t get us off their minds.

bardawg

June 7th, 2012
4:06 pm

Just another reminder to folks in the Bulldawg Nation how thankful we should be that that a$$ hole FORMER Bulldog Kirby Smart did”nt take the job. I’d have to say we dodged the bullet on not having that jerk coming back to Athens!

Johnny DangerDawg

June 7th, 2012
4:08 pm

As for the suggestion that VanGorder left because he didn’t like Garner, that is ludicrous. VanGorder is an opportunist, who moves on whenever he feels the next opportunity will lead him closer to his long term goals. After leaving the Dawgs, he’s moved on to 6 different jobs! How long was he at South Carolina, maybe a week? Was Coach Garner running him out of all those other places too?