Mcgriff hire is now official

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Saturday, JANUARY 9, 2021

Wesley McGriff Joins Florida Football Staff
McGriff joins the Gators after two years at Auburn

GAINESVILLE, Fla. Florida head football coach Dan Mullen announced the hire of Wesley McGriff. The Tifton, Ga., native spent the 2019 and 2020 seasons as the defensive backs coach at Auburn.

"Coach McGriff brings a high level of familiarity in the National Football League and Southeastern Conference, being a coordinator and position coach," Coach Mullen said. "His track record of preparing players for the NFL and his success coaching at every level speaks for itself. His energy and tireless effort in recruiting will be an asset to our defensive staff."

McGriff has been in the coaching ranks since 1990 when he was hired as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Savannah State. The veteran coach has experience coaching in the National Football League and with four schools from the Southeastern Conference.

Auburn (2019-2020)
McGriff joined Auburn for a second time in 2019 as the defensive backs coach under Gus Malzahn.

Under McGriff's coaching in the secondary, Auburn saw defensive backs Noah Igbinoghene (First Round) and Daniel Thomas (Fifth Round) drafted in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Auburn's passing defense improved from No. 7 in the SEC in 2018, which was the year before he arrived in Auburn, to No. 3 in the SEC in his final season with the Tigers in 2020.

Ole Miss (2016-2018)
McGriff was named defensive coordinator at Ole Miss on December 16, 2016. He was promoted to associate head coach on July 20, 2017.

In his first season at Ole Miss, McGriff orchestrated a defense that included a pair of NFL Draft picks in Breeland Speaks (second round) and Marquis Haynes (fourth round). The duo combined for 14.5 sacks, and both earned second team All-SEC honors. Linebacker DeMarquis Gates had his biggest season as a Rebel in McGriff's system, registering 114 tackles. Gates' total was the most by a Rebel in a single season since 2006.

The following season, sophomore linebacker Mohamed Sanogo was fourth in the SEC with 112 tackles and joined Gates in 2017 as the only two Ole Miss defenders with 100+ tackles in the previous 12 seasons.

Auburn (2016)
In his one season as secondary coach and co-defensive coordinator at Auburn, McGriff helped guide the Tigers to a Sugar Bowl berth as the Tigers went from the bottom third of the SEC in 2015 to top three in the league in 2016 in scoring defense (11th/26.0 to 2nd/15.6), rushing defense (11th/182.7 to 3rd/124.8) and third-down conversion defense (13th/44.9 to 2nd/34.0).

The Tigers gave up far less explosive plays of 10+ yards (190 in 2015, 144 in 2016) and were locked down when it came to allowing touchdowns in the red zone (51.0 percent to 34.2 percent). Auburn ranked seventh nationally in scoring defense (17.1 ppg) and 11th in total red zone defense (74.4 percent) in 2016.

New Orleans Saints (2013-15)
McGriff spent three seasons (2013-15) with the NFL's New Orleans Saints, working with the defensive backs. In his first two years, McGriff oversaw the development of young players such as safeties Rafael Bush, Kenny Vaccaro and Pierre Warren and cornerback Terrence Frederick, as well as veterans like safety Jairus Byrd and cornerback Keenan Lewis. In 2015, Lewis led the Saints with 13 passes defensed, while adding two interceptions. Vaccaro led the New Orleans secondary with 113 tackles and added one sack and two interceptions. McGriff also worked the undrafted rookie Warren into the starting lineup for the final six games due to injuries in the secondary and he responded, tying for the team lead with three takeaways.

In his first season in New Orleans, the Saints ranked fourth in the NFL in total defense (305.7 ypg), second in opponent passing yards per game (194.1 ypg) and fourth in scoring defense (19.0 ppg), posting an 11-5 record and advancing to the divisional round of the playoffs.

Ole Miss (2012)
McGriff spent 2012 as co-defensive coordinator/cornerbacks coach at Ole Miss, helping the young Rebel defense finish second in the SEC and top 15 in the NCAA in tackles for loss (7.7) and sacks per game (2.8). Linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche was named to the FWAA All-America and SEC All-Freshman teams, defensive tackle Issac Gross earned conference all-freshman honors and was named to the Freshman All-America team, and safety Trae Elston was named to the ESPN SEC All-Freshman team.

In his first stint at Ole Miss, McGriff helped the Rebels go from 2-10 the year before to 7-6 and a win over Pitt in the 2013 BBVA Compass Bowl.

Vanderbilt (2011)
McGriff spent the 2011 season as defensive backs coach/recruiting coordinator at Vanderbilt, where he helped the Commodores to only their fifth all-time appearance in a bowl. His secondary produced 12 interceptions, three returns for touchdowns, eight tackles behind the line of scrimmage and more than 20 pass breakups. McGriff helped current San Diego Chargers CB Casey Hayward become the first Vanderbilt All-American in four years, posting seven interceptions, the third-highest season total ever by a Commodore.

Miami (Fla.) (2007-2010)
McGriff's season in Nashville was preceded by four at Miami (Fla.), where he mentored some of the ACC's top defensive backs. In 2010, the Hurricanes ranked second in the nation in pass defense, allowing just 164.3 yards per game. The Miami defense ranked 16th nationally and 21st in scoring defense. In 2009, he tutored All-America defensive back Brandon Harris, seven-year NFL veteran safety Kenny Phillips (2007 All-American and first-round NFL draft pick) and Green Bay defensive back Sam Shields, as the Hurricanes ranked 29th in total defense.

Baylor (2003-06)
Before joining the Miami staff, McGriff served four years at Baylor as recruiting coordinator and defensive backs coach. With McGriff's assistance, the Baylor defense notched 16 interceptions and ranked 13th in pass efficiency in 2005. As a recruiter, McGriff was responsible for signing offensive lineman Jason Smith, who left Baylor as an All-America tackle and the No. 2 pick of the 2009 draft.

Kentucky (2001-02)
McGriff earned his first SEC coaching experience at Kentucky, where he coached running backs in 2001 and cornerbacks in 2002. One of McGriff's pupils, Artose Pinner, led the SEC in rushing and played six years in the NFL.

Eastern Kentucky (2000)
McGriff spent the 2000 campaign as the secondary coach at Eastern Kentucky, where he mentored Yeremiah Bell, a first-team All-Ohio Valley Conference pick who went on to be drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the sixth round in 2003.

Kentucky State (1995-99)
From 1995-99, McGriff served as assistant head coach, defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Kentucky State. The Thorobreds had the No. 1 defense in the nation in 1995 and the No. 1 pass yardage defense in 1997. He was named the AFCA's NCAA Division II National Assistant Coach of the Year in 1998.

Savannah State (1990-94)
He began his coaching career at his alma mater, Savannah State, from 1990-94. Starting as a graduate assistant, McGriff tutored running backs before coaching the secondary in 1991-92 and then serving as defensive coordinator in 1993-94. He was the team's interim head coach for three months in spring 1993.

A native of Tifton, Ga., McGriff played cornerback, running back and wide receiver for the Tift County High School state championship team. He played at South Carolina State for one year before transferring to Savannah State, where he started at outside linebacker for three seasons and was named the conference's 1989 Male Academic Athlete of the Year.

He received his bachelor's degree in criminal justice, graduating cum laude, from Savannah State in 1990 and earned a master's in public administration from Georgia Southern in 1993. McGriff was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army in 1990 and was a member of the Army Reserves until 2001. He is a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity.
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