Georgia Football: Todd Grantham Has Been a Major Distraction

David AldridgeFeatured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2013

October 6, 2012; Columbia, SC, USA; Georgia Bulldogs defensive coordinator Todd Grantham on the sidelines in the first half against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Despite missing out on some big names on national signing day, the Georgia Bulldogs have wrapped up another offseason with a highly ranked recruiting class.

According to, Georgia finished with the tenth ranked class in the country.

However, during a press conference in Athens this afternoon, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham took up more of the spotlight than the Bulldogs' incoming recruiting class. Fans and reporters were more focused on the rumors of Grantham interviewing for defensive coordinator openings in the NFL than any letters of intent that had been received.

The rumors of Grantham jumping to the NFL began a couple weeks ago when his name surfaced as a possible candidate for the defensive coordinator position with the Philadelphia Eagles. Now, he has also been mentioned as a candidate for the same position with the New Orleans Saints.

According to Seth Emerson, Grantham is scheduled to interview with the Saints on Thursday for their opening.

Grantham has tried to diffuse the situation and avoid answering questions about the NFL but it has been a major distraction for the program over the past two weeks.

With the loss of Rodney Garner to Auburn earlier in the offseason, UGA was facing a challenging period heading down the stretch for recruiting. Garner was the recruiting coordinator for the Bulldogs and has a reputation as one of the best recruiters in the country.

With Garner coaching and recruiting for one of Georgia's biggest rivals, more responsibility fell on Grantham and his defensive staff to compensate for the loss of Garner and the relationships he'd already formed.

All indications are that Grantham spent a significant amount of time with recruits over the past few weeks, but the rumors circulating of his possible departure to the NFL had to have hurt his credibility.

When asked how he approached recruits who might have been concerned about the rumors, Grantham replied:

"I told guys that I love Georgia, and I think this is a great place. My family loves it, and I love it, and I fully expect to be here," he said. "But as coaches, if things come up, you're always going to say, 'Hey, what's best for your family,' and see what happens."

Considering how schools in the SEC are constantly looking for advantages over each other in recruiting, one would think other coaches mentioned the Grantham rumors to defensive players considering the Bulldogs.

I doubt it was the deciding factor, but it probably didn't help with guys like Montravius Adams, Reuben Foster and Matthew Thomas.

During this entire situation, Grantham has come off as someone who is primarily looking out for his own interests. He has been coy with the media and his behavior would be quite manipulative should he depart after national signing day. After all, it sounds like he led recruits like Davin Bellamy to believe he would be staying in Athens.

Despite the criticism that Mark Richt and his coaching staff receives for some of their decisions, "manipulative" and "selfish" are not words normally associated with the Georgia football program. Richt makes it a point to surround himself with people of integrity.

After this situation, the verdict is still out on Todd Grantham.