Florida hires defensive assistant coach

Zach Abolverdi
Gainesville Sun
Wesley McGriff

Florida hired Auburn defensive backs coach Wesley McGriff to fill a vacancy on staff, the school officially announced Saturday. 

"Coach McGriff brings a high level of familiarity in the National Football League and Southeastern Conference, being a coordinator and position coach," UF coach Dan Mullen said on the school's website. "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."

FootballScoop.com was the first to report the news Thursday of the hiring, which came a week after UF parted ways with cornerbacks coach Torrian Gray and safeties coach Ron English.

McGriff, 52, is expected to replace Gray and has coached in the SEC for nearly a decade. He had two stints with Auburn (2019-20, 2016) and Ole Miss (2017-18, 2012), where he served as defensive coordinator and was promoted to associate head coach. His other stops include Vanderbilt (2011) and Kentucky (2001-02). 

The past two seasons, 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 in his final season in 2020.

McGriff, a Georgia native, also spent three seasons (2013-15) with the New Orleans Saints and four years as the Miami Hurricanes defensive backs coach (2007-10). His top recruits include UM’s Brandon Harris and Robert Nkemdiche at Ole Miss.

Football Scoop reports that former Texas defensive coordinator Chris Ash is a candidate to become Florida’s safeties coach. Ash, 47, was the head coach at Rutgers from 2016-19 after serving as Ohio State’s co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach (2014-15) under former UF coach Urban Meyer.