Todd Grantham is headed to Louisville after spending four seasons dialing up the Georgia Bulldogs' defense. He accepted the position of defensive coordinator with the Cardinals on Sunday, reports FOX Sports, adding a key piece to Bobby Petrino's coaching staff.
The move is sure to carry repercussions on the field in 2014, when Georgia could return 10 starters on a defense that ranked eighth overall in the SEC last season. Grantham also leaves behind his recruiting duties in Athens, where he was heavily involved in the effort to secure several premier prospects.
The program has already begun to search for Grantham's replacement and is operating under a substantial time crunch. National signing day is less than four weeks away and recruits will want answers.
“Well he was the [defensive coordinator], so they may have to change their scheme, which would be interesting," linebacker Christian Miller, an Alabama commit who may still visit Athens, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Michael Carvell. "I’m interested in seeing who the replacement will be.”
After the sudden departure of a staff mainstay, Georgia head coach Mark Richt remains optimistic his team will acquire a top-tier replacement. Any upcoming hire will have the attention of prospects across the country.
"The opportunity to work at Georgia is extremely attractive and there already is, and will be, interest from some very, very outstanding coaches," Richt told the Associated Press (h/t FOX Sports).
Georgia is likely to proceed quickly in an effort to fill the high-profile vacancy, but several recruits are essentially left in limbo during the interim. Grantham's top uncommitted targets included coveted 5-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga.) and 4-star linebacker Rashaan Evans (Auburn, Ala.).
"I’m surprised but I just gotta wait and see what happens," Carter told the Journal-Constitution.
The top-ranked player in Georgia is also considering offers from Florida, Florida State and LSU. Evans has the Bulldogs on a short list that includes Auburn, Alabama and Ole Miss.
Current Georgia commits are already weighing in on Grantham's exit, including 4-star defensive end Keyon Brown (Wauchula, Fla.).
“I like Coach Grantham and all, and I hope he has a good time at Louisville," he told the Journal-Constitution. "But I’m a Dawg. And that’s not changing."
Expect Richt, obviously a key figure in every recruiting process, to take on a bigger role with each defensive player as national signing day approaches. He must also monitor another fluid situation on his staff.
Defensive line coach Chris Wilson is interviewing with Alabama on Monday, according to 247Sports reporter Shannon Terry. The coaching carousel and final recruiting frenzy have combined to create an interesting stretch ahead in Athens.