TUSCALOOSA — Alabama has filled the fourth and final vacancy on its offensive coaching staff, hiring Jay Graham as its tight ends coach and special teams coordinator.
Here are five things to know about Graham.
1. He’s coming off of an NCAA recruiting show cause
After Graham left Texas A&M for Tennessee, the Aggies were hit with recruiting violations, part of the punishments being six-month show-causes for head coach Jimbo Fisher and an unnamed assistant.
That assistant coach proved to be Graham, who according to the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions served a nine-day ban on contact with prospects in January of 2020, among other restrictions.
That show-cause expired at the end of 2020.
2. He doesn’t have much experience with tight ends…
Graham has been a running backs coach ever since he got his first position coach job in 2006.
The lone exception was in 2011, when he was both the running backs and tight ends coach at South Carolina. He had been the Gamecocks’ running backs coach the two previous seasons.
3. … but he does have special teams experience
Graham was going to be a special teams coach for San Diego in 2007, but he became the running backs coach and recruiting coordinator for UT Martin before coaching a game for San Diego.
He would not take on special teams duties again until 2014, when he was Florida State’s running backs coach and special teams coach for four seasons.
4. He comes from his alma mater, Tennessee
Serving as the Volunteers’ running backs coach was his third season coaching Tennessee in three different stints: a graduate assistant in 2005, running backs coach in 2012 and running backs coach again in 2020.
As a player, Graham is in the top 10 in Tennessee history in career rushing yards and scored 25 touchdowns as a Volunteer. His 1995 season was his best, when he ran for over 1,400 yards as Tennessee finished 11-1 and No. 2 in the final coaches poll.
5. He’s spent a lot of time with Jimbo Fisher
His first season under the current Texas A&M coach was in 2013, when the Fisher-led Florida State Seminoles beat Auburn to win the national championship. Graham stayed with Fisher for the next six seasons, four at Florida State and two at Texas A&M.
Graham has nearly spent more seasons working for Fisher (seven) than all other coaches combined (nine).