Today is June 22, 2019, which means we are officially just 70 days away from the Virginia Tech Hokies opening the 2019 college football season at Boston College. After today’s installment, we are 30 percent through the countdown. Yesterday, we profiled former defensive tackle, David Pugh, a multi-year starter at defensive tackle for the Hokies during arguably the most successful period in school history.
Today, for No. 70, we profile former offensive lineman, Todd Grantham. Grantham arrived in Blacksburg in 1984 from nearby Pulaski County High School in Dublin. Grantham is the second former Hokie from PCHS already on this countdown and he won’t be the last. Most fans probably know Grantham best from his current coaching career, but everything began for Grantham in the New River Valley.
Grantham redshirted his first season with the Hokies back in 1984. He then became a key contributor before eventually moving into the starting lineup. Frank Beamer took over for Bill Dooley in 1987, Grantham’s junior year, and Grantham became a strong starter for the Hokies for the next two years, which culminated in Grantham being named an honorable mention All-American in 1988.
While in Blacksburg, Grantham caught the eye of Beamer, who noticed the offensive lineman looked like a future coach, per Jeff Greer of the Courier-Journal, back in 2014.
“He played hard and he worked hard,” Beamer said. “But what you really noticed was how smart he was. You could see that right away.”
It didn’t take long after Grantham’s career for Beamer to bring him on his staff. In 1990, Grantham was brought on board to help coach defensive ends and inside linebackers for two seasons. During this time, current defensive coordinator, Bud Foster, was coaching outside linebackers for the Hokies. In 1992, Grantham, would coach defensive tackles for two more seasons before becoming defensive line coach in 1994 and 1995. After six seasons under Beamer as an assistant, Grantham left Blacksburg.
He would join Michigan State under head coach Nick Saban in 1996. He spent three seasons with the Spartans before taking a job in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts in 1999. Grantham spent three years coaching the defensive line with the Colts before moving on to Houston to coach the defensive line for three years there, too. In 2005, he would get his first crack as a defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns. Grantham would also spend three years in Cleveland and was fired after the 2007 season.
He moved on to coach Dallas Cowboys’ defensive line for two seasons before returning to the college game in 2010. He would take over as the defensive coordinator for Georgia for four seasons as the Bulldogs were never lower than No. 45 in total defense during his four years in Athens. He was hired away by Louisville in 2014, receiving a five-year contract valued at $1M per year. He spent three years with the Cardinals before moving on to Mississippi State. He spent just one season with the Bulldogs, following head coach Dan Mullen to Florida where he is entering his second season as defensive coordinator.
No matter how you view Grantham’s coaching career, one thing is certain, he continues to get big-time jobs at some of the top schools in America. Sure, he hasn’t received his big break as a head coach yet, but he is one of the more successful defensive coordinators in college football over the last decade.
So, Hokies, how do you remember Todd Grantham? As a player, or as a coach?