Ole Miss Adds Three More To Football Staff

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Former Rebel player and GA Grant Heard returns as wide receivers coach.
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Former Rebel player and GA Grant Heard returns as wide receivers coach.
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

Jan. 9, 2012

BLOG: Rebels In Coaching Ranks

OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss head football coach Hugh Freeze continues to assemble an impressive staff, adding co-defensive coordinator/cornerbacks coach Wesley McGriff, wide receivers coach Grant Heard and strength and conditioning coach Paul Jackson, it was announced Monday.

McGriff joins the Rebels after a one-year term at Vanderbilt, where he served as defensive backs coach/recruiting coordinator and helped the program to its fifth bowl appearance.

Led by All-American Casey Hayward, McGriff’s secondary produced 12 interceptions, three returns for touchdowns, eight tackles behind the line of scrimmage and more than 20 pass breakups. The group was also responsible for returning interceptions for TDs in three consecutive games for the first time in school history.

McGriff’s season in Nashville was preceded by four at Miami, where he mentored some of the ACC's top defensive backs. He coached former Hurricane All-American safety and 2009 NFL first-round draft pick Kenny Phillips for two seasons, as well as All-ACC cornerback Brandon Harris and safety Ray-Ray Armstrong.  McGriff also helped mold Sam Shields from a wide receiver to a defensive back who is now starting for the Green Bay Packers.

McGriff's 2010 unit helped Miami rank second nationally in pass defense allowing just 164.3 yards per game. The Hurricanes, who posted their third straight winning season and a Sun Bowl appearance, also ranked No. 16 nationally in total defense (317.2 ypg) and No. 21 in scoring defense (19.7 ppg).

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. His coaching career also includes stops at Eastern Kentucky, Kentucky State and his alma mater, Savannah State, where he graduated cum laude in 1990.

“Wesley not only brings tremendous experience, but experience in the SEC,” said Freeze. “He has coached DBs to great success at the highest level, and he has been a recruiting force everywhere he has been.”

A former Rebel player and graduate assistant, Heard will be at his third stop with Freeze, having served as his quarterbacks coach and passing-game coordinator at Arkansas State, offensive coordinator at Lambuth and GA at Ole Miss.

Heard helped A-State to a record-breaking year in 2011 led by his star pupil, Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Year Ryan Aplin. The junior quarterback established school single-season records for total offense and passing yards per game while finishing the regular season No. 10 in the nation in total offense.

Heard’s passing attack ranked 17th in the nation, and the Red Wolves were 25th in total offense en route to a Sun Belt championship and an appearance in the GoDaddy.com Bowl.

An 11-year coaching veteran, Heard spent the 2008 and 2009 seasons as the offensive coordinator at Lambuth.  During the 2008 campaign, the Eagles offense accumulated 5,861 yards while becoming the No. 1 offense in NAIA. Lambuth finished third in the nation in scoring offense and fourth in passing efficiency.

A wide receiver during his collegiate career (1996-2000), Heard helped lead Ole Miss to four bowl games and graduated as the Rebels’ all-time leader in career receptions and touchdowns. He earned his bachelor's degree in 2001 before embarking on a brief NFL career.

After beginning his coaching career with stints at Jackson (Miss.) Preparatory High School, Hargrave Military Academy and N.C. State, Heard was an offensive graduate at Ole Miss in 2005 and 2006, when he assisted in coaching the wide receivers and tight ends and mentored, among others, future Pro Bowler Mike  Wallace.

“Having worked together for many years, Grant has a great understanding of what we are trying to do offensively,” Freeze said. “He is also one of the best receivers to ever play for the Rebels. His familiarity and love for Ole Miss makes him a perfect fit.”

Jackson comes to Oxford after spending 2011 at Southern Miss, where he oversaw the strength and conditioning for the entire USM athletics department with direct responsibility over the football program. His one season In Hattiesburg saw the football team soar to its best record in school history at 12-2, a Conference USA championship and a victory in the Hawaii Bowl.

Jackson arrived in Hattiesburg after serving the 2010 season as the Director of Athletic Conditioning for Football at Miami (Ohio). In his lone season at Miami, Jackson helped lead the Redhawks to the 2010 MAC championship and a victory in the 2011 GoDaddy.Com Bowl, while becoming the only team in NCAA history to go from double-digit losses one year to double-digit wins the next (1-11 in 2009 to 10-4 in 2010).

From 2007-10, Jackson served as an Assistant Strength Coach at LSU, working directly with the Tigers football and volleyball teams. During his time in Baton Rouge, Jackson won an SEC and national championship with the football team as well as three consecutive SEC Western Division and one SEC championship with the volleyball team. While working for the Tigers, Jackson worked under and was mentored by strength and conditioning legend Tommy Moffitt.

A graduate of Montclair State (N.J.), Jackson got his start in the business as a Professional Intern Strength Coach with the NFL’s New York Giants. He also spent time as a Performance Enhancement Specialist at the Parisi Speed School in Garwood, N.J., where the focus is sport-specific speed and agility training as well as combine preparation.

“Paul is one of the young and up-and-coming stars in strength and conditioning,” said Freeze. “At each of his stops, he has helped turn the program around. He will make us the type of team we need to be to compete for championships.”

Ole Miss Gear
    Facebook
    Twitter
    • Loading Tweets...
      1 second ago
    Blog
    • Volleyball Keeps NCAA Tournament Hopes Alive

      Wednesday, November 26, 2014 - Volleyball

      The goal from day one for head coach Steven McRoberts was to lead Ole Miss to its fourth NCAA Tournament appearance and its first since 2010.  Entering the team's final two matches, McRoberts said he felt as though they were... read more

    • The Season: Ole Miss Football Episode 12

      Wednesday, November 26, 2014 - Football

      The Season: Ole Miss Football - Episode 12 - Arkansas (2014) from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Wommack, Rebels Prep for Prescott

      Wednesday, November 26, 2014 - Football

      Battling injury, junior quarterback Dak Prescott came off the bench and helped rally Mississippi State to a come-from-behind 17-10 win in last year's Egg Bowl. He led a drive that ended with the game-tying field goal at 10-10 and then... read more

    • Rebels Not Lacking Motivation in Rivalry Matchup

      Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - Football

      Head coach Hugh Freeze called the Egg Bowl the most prized possession of this university's football program, and getting the Egg Bowl back should be enough motivation for his team entering Saturday's game against Mississippi State.  An Independence, Mississippi, native,... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Nov. 17-23, 2014)

      Monday, November 24, 2014 -

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewNov. 17-23, 2014Men's Basketball- Ole Miss posted a 2-0 mark last week with wins over Southern University and Northern Arizona as part of the Emerald Coast Classic, improving to 3-1 on the season.- Ole Miss... read more

    • Golson Named Finalist for Conerly Trophy

      Monday, November 24, 2014 - Football

      Senior cornerback Senquez Golson, one of five finalists for the Bronco Nagurski Award, which honors the national defensive player of the year, will represent Ole Miss as one of 10 finalists for the C Spire Conerly Trophy, which honors the... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- Nov. 23

      Sunday, November 23, 2014 - Athletics

      It's that busy time of the year with the Ole Miss football, volleyball, men's and women's basketball teams all in action. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was in Ole Miss sports:- A slow start (17-0... read more

    • Rebels Unable to Overcome Slow Start

      Saturday, November 22, 2014 - Football

      FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Arkansas jumped out to a 17-0 in the first quarter and took advantage of six Ole Miss turnovers on the way to a 30-0 shutout win Saturday in Fayetteville."I was concerned all week, for whatever reason, that... read more

    • Three and Out: Keys to Ole Miss-Arkansas

      Saturday, November 22, 2014 - Football

      Three areas to watch as No. 8 Ole Miss travels to Arkansas in its final road game of the regular season Saturday. Slowing the Hogs' Ground Attack The extra week of preparation, defensive coordinator Dave Wommack said, should prove beneficial... read more

    • Rebels Ahead of Schedule in Year Three

      Thursday, November 20, 2014 - Football

      It's sometimes easy to forget where the Ole Miss football program was just three short years ago, when Hugh Freeze was interviewing for the head coaching position. The Rebels had won just two games in 2011 and had lost 14... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Nov. 10-16, 2014)

      Monday, November 17, 2014 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewNov. 10-16, 2014Women's Basketball- The Ole Miss women's basketball team opened up the 2014-15 season with two wins over the weekend. The Rebels took down Grambling 92-67 in the season opener on Friday and followed... read more

    • Observations from the Best Seat in the House -- Nov. 16

      Sunday, November 16, 2014 - Athletics

      The Ole Miss football team was off, but it was a busy week in Ole Miss athletics nevertheless, as the men's and women's basketball teams opened their respective seasons. Here are some thoughts and opinions on the week that was:-... read more

    • Getting Healthy, Staying Sharp on the Bye Week

      Friday, November 14, 2014 - Football

      No. 10 Ole Miss was without several starters and regular contributors against Presbyterian, and many others were limited.  But given an extra week of rest, head coach Hugh Freeze said he expects everyone, with the exception of the players out... read more

    • The Season: Ole Miss Football Episode 11

      Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - Football

      The Season: Ole Miss Football - Episode 11 - Presbyterian (2014) from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.... read more

    • Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Nov. 3-9, 2014)

      Monday, November 10, 2014 - Athletics

      Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewNov. 3-9, 2014Football- Ole Miss took a break from the rugged Southeastern Conference and earned a 48-0 shutout win over Presbyterian on Saturday.- It was the Rebels' first shutout since beating Tulane 39-0 in 2012.-... read more