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Wesley McGriff

Wesley  McGriff

Hometown:
Tifton, Ga.

Position:
Associate Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator

Alma Mater:
Savannah State, 1990

11/06/2017

Matt Luke Weekly Press Conference

Luke Recaps Kentucky Win, Previews Louisiana

11/04/2017

Football Wins in Final Seconds at Kentucky, 37-34

Ta'amu's late TD pass to Metcalf Lifts Rebels Over Wildcats

10/30/2017

Rebels Turn Attention to Kentucky

Matt Luke Thinks His Team Will Rebound After Tough Loss

10/28/2017

Last-Second Arkansas Field Goal Sinks Ole Miss, 38-37

Jordan Ta'amu Recorded Most Passing Yards by Ole Miss QB Making First Career Start.

10/21/2017

Football Falls to No. 24 LSU, 40-24

Ole Miss hosts Arkansas next Saturday.

Wesley McGriff, a highly respected leader, defensive coach and dynamic recruiter, returned for his second stint at Ole Miss when he was tabbed defensive coordinator on December 16, 2016. He was promoted to associate head coach on July 20, 2017.

McGriff returns to Ole Miss after gaining valuable experience at the NFL level with the New Orleans Saints and as Auburn’s co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach.

In his one season at Auburn, McGriff helped guide the Tigers to a Sugar Bowl berth and helped turn around a defense that struggled during a 7-6 season (2-6 SEC) the year before he arrived.

With McGriff’s influence, Auburn 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.

McGriff came to Auburn after three seasons 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.

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 CollegeFootballNews.com Freshman All-America team, and safety Trae Elston was named to the ESPN SEC All-Freshman team.

In his first season 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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, Georgia, 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.

    • A Closer Look: Safeties

      Friday, January 19, 2018 - Football

      Top Performers: Zedrick Woods (64 tackles, four break ups, four deflections) C.J. Moore (51 tackles, three interceptions) Returning in 2018: Zedrick Woods (Sr., 3L) Jaylon Jones (Jr., 2L), Cam Ordway (Sr., 3L), C.J. Moore (Sr., 3L), Armani Linton (Jr.,... read more

    • A Closer Look: Cornerbacks

      Thursday, January 18, 2018 - Football

      This is the eighth of a 10-part position-by-position series looking back at the 2017 season, as well as previewing what lies ahead for Ole Miss football in 2018. Top Performer: Myles Hartsfield (29 solo tackles, 14 assisted tackles, 43... read more

    • A Closer Look: Linebackers

      Wednesday, January 17, 2018 - Football

      This is the seventh of a 10-part position-by-position series looking back at the 2017 season, as well as previewing what lies ahead for Ole Miss football in 2018. Top Performer: DeMarquis Gates (112 tackles, 2 sacks, 10 TFL) Returning... read more

    • A Closer Look: Defensive Line

      Tuesday, January 16, 2018 - Football

      This is the sixth of a 10-part position-by-position series looking back at the 2017 season, as well as previewing what lies ahead for Ole Miss football in 2018. Top Performer: Breeland Speaks (27 solo tackles, 40 assisted tackles, 67... read more

    • A Closer Look: Offensive Line

      Monday, January 15, 2018 - Football

      This is the fifth of a 10-part position-by-position series looking back at the 2017 season, as well as previewing what lies ahead for Ole Miss football in 2018. Returning in 2018: Greg Little (Jr., 2L), Sean Rawlings (Sr., 3L),... read more

    • A Closer Look: Tight Ends

      Thursday, January 11, 2018 - Football

      This is the fourth of a 10-part position-by-position series looking back at the 2017 season, as well as previewing what lies ahead for Ole Miss football in 2018. Top Performer: Dawson Knox (10 catches, 324 yards) Returning in 2018:... read more

    • Luke Named Grand Marshal of Biloxi's Mardi Gras Parade

      Thursday, January 11, 2018 - Football

      Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke will return to home to the Mississippi Gulf Coast in February. Luke was named the Neptune Parade Grand Marshal and will lead the Krew of Neptune's annual Mardi Gras Parade. The parade is... read more

    • A Closer Look: Wide Receivers

      Wednesday, January 10, 2018 - Football

      This is the third of a 10-part position-by-position series looking back at the 2017 season, as well as previewing what lies ahead for Ole Miss football in 2018. Top Performers: A.J. Brown (75 catches, 1,252 yards, 11 touchdowns), DaMarkus... read more

    • A Closer Look: Quarterbacks

      Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - Football

      This is the second of a 10-part position-by-position series looking back at the 2017 season, as well as previewing what lies ahead for Ole Miss football in 2018. Top Performer: Jordan Ta'amu (115-of-173, 1,682 yards, 11 touchdowns, four interceptions)... read more

    • A Closer Look: Running Backs

      Monday, January 8, 2018 - Football

      This is the first of a 10-part position-by-position series looking back at the 2017 season, as well as previewing what lies ahead for Ole Miss football in 2018. Top Performer: Jordan Wilkins (155 carries, 1,011 rushing yards (6.5 avg.),... read more

    • Tyree Aiming to Become Vocal Leader for Ole Miss

      Sunday, January 7, 2018 -

      Ole Miss needed a lift in the final eight minutes of Saturday's win over Mississippi State. The Rebels trailed 51-42 and were in the midst of a horrible shooting night that had them on the fast track to falling to... read more

    • Luke to be Part of Coaches Film Room During National Title Game

      Saturday, January 6, 2018 - Football

      Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke will participate in ESPN's Coaches Film room during Monday night's national championship game between Georgia and Alabama. The Coaches Film room is part of ESPN's MegaCast for the championship game that includes 20... read more

    • Rebels Relying on Guard Play Against Mississippi State

      Friday, January 5, 2018 -

       Andy Kennedy has made his team's path to success this season abundantly clear. Ole Miss has to play with a blue-collar mentality on the defensive end and needs its guards to carry most of the scoring load. The latter was part... read more

    • NFL Rebels: Adeboyejo's Christmas Surprise

      Saturday, December 30, 2017 - Football

      The waiter began removing the clean plates and silverware from the three empty seats on the white cloth. There was no need for them. The only chair occupied at this four-person table at Sonny Lee's Hunan Taste restaurant in... read more

    • Ole Miss Begins SEC Play Against South Carolina

      Saturday, December 30, 2017 - Men's Basketball

      Ole Miss begins a new segment of its season on Sunday and arguably its most important one as South Carolina comes to The Pavilion to tip off SEC play. It was an up-and-down non-conference season for the Rebels who lost three games at... read more

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