Florida received good news on Wednesday night when CBS Sports learned that defensive coordinator Todd Grantham will spurn the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals and return to Gainesville, Florida, for his second season with the Gators. Grantham had been a target of the Bengals and first-year coach Zac Taylor.
Grantham spent 11 seasons in the NFL from 1999-2009 with four separate teams. He was hired by former coach Mark Richt to take over the Bulldogs defense and spent four seasons in Athens, Georgia, from 2010-13. The transition to college wasn't too easy as the Bulldogs defense regressed in each of his final three seasons.
Bobby Petrino gave Grantham a second change at the college game at Louisville, where he found his groove with a talented Cardinals roster. The Cardinals finished second in the ACC in total defense in 2014 with 308.5 yards per game and then third in 2015 and 2016 with 332.8 and 322.2, respectively.
Grantham then moved to Starkville, Mississippi, with former Mississippi State and current Gators head coach Dan Mullen for two seasons, following Mullen to Gainesville when he was hired to take over the Gators prior to the 2018 season. His defense gave up just 343.3 yards per game last year; it was ultra-reliable as the offense went through growing pains, helping lead Florida to a 41-15 Peach Bowl win over Michigan.
Grantham was the highest-paid assistant in Gators football history at $1.5 million per season. After a down year for Florida's defense in 2017, he elevated it 49 spots (from 69th to 20th) nationally in scoring defense. As such, coach Dan Mullen and athletic director Scott Stricklin awarded him with a $300,000 raise and one-year contract extension, which were announced Thursday. Based on 2018 salaries, that would make Grantham at $1.8 million one of the five highest-paid assistants in college football.