The New York Giants made very interesting news today, hiring New England Patriots special teams coordinator Joe Judge as their next head coach. That move made waves down in SEC country, as Judge reportedly had an offer to become the head coach at his alma mater Mississippi State.
News of Judge’s offer came out after the Giants landed him. It was the second major coaching hire in the NFL with major college ramifications, after the Carolina Panthers hired Matt Rhule away from Baylor.
Rhule was also a Giants target, so all of these moves are a bit interconnected. Now, we have two Power Five openings late in the coaching carousel.
On Monday, Judge was one of two candidates that seemed to have real momentum down in Starkville. The other: Florida defensive coordinator Todd Grantham.
After today’s news, FootballScoop thinks Grantham, who coached under Dan Mullen in Starkville for one season, could be in prime position for the Bulldogs job.
From our update yesterday, with Judge off the board, Miss State could turn to Todd Granthamhttps://t.co/qliYIB4xS7
— FootballScoop Staff (@FootballScoop) January 7, 2020
The 53-year old DC has never been a head coach before, which could be a slight mark against him, though neither had Judge obviously.
He has been a top coordinator across the SEC, with tenures at Georgia, MSU, and Florida. His one season at Mississippi State was the best it has had defensively in decades.
Per 247Sports, Todd Grantham hadn’t actively pursued head coaching opportunities before, but now he really wants the chance to lead a program, and because his experience at Mississippi State was so good, this is an attractive opportunity for him.
Sources have indicated that Grantham hasn’t actually pursued a head coaching job in the past. One source said that Grantham badly wants his start to run his own program and he believes that he could have success at MSU. Over the weekend, Grantham reached out to several people around MSU’s program including former players and those in the city of Starkville to express that further.
In just one season at MSU in 2017, Grantham and his family had a great experience. The Bulldogs went from one of the worst defenses in the country under coordinator Peter Sirmon to one of the best as Grantham produced the best defense that MSU has had on the field since Joe Lee Dunn in 1999.
That doesn’t mean he is the only candidate left. FootballScoop reports that two service academy coaches—Army’s Jeff Monken and Air Force’s Troy Calhoun—have interviewed, and ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg reports that former Auburn head coach Gene Chizik is involved as well.