Mississippi State has filled its defensive coordinator vacancy by hiring Todd Grantham, who held the same position at Louisville since 2014.
Grantham replaces current Mississippi State defensive coordinator Peter Sirmon, who will not return to the team in 2017.
During each of his three seasons at Louisville, Grantham’s defenses ranked in the top-20 nationally in total defense. While Grantham is primarily known for his ability to stop the run, his 2014 unit at Louisville led the country in interceptions with 26.
Last season, Louisville ranked 14th in total defense, although Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson stole much of the headlines around the team.
Prior to his time with Louisville, Grantham spent three years as the defensive coordinator at Georgia, where he helped lead the Bulldogs to an SEC Championship Game appearance in 2012. He also has 11 years of NFL coaching experience, including stints with the Dallas Cowboys as a defensive line coach and the Cleveland Browns as defensive coordinator.
Mississippi State hopes the hire will sure up its defense after struggling mightily on that side of the ball last year. MSU ranked 110th nationally in total defense and 93rd in scoring defense during 2016, Sirmon’s lone season as defensive coordinator.
Following a 2015 season that saw Mississippi State go 9-4 and the departure of now Cowboys star rookie Dak Prescott, the Bulldogs finished last season 6-7 after a one-point victory over the Miami RedHawks in the St. Petersburg Bowl.
Mississippi State will kick off its 2017 season with a home matchup against Charleston Southern, while Louisville looks ahead to a date with Purdue on Sept. 2 at Lucas Oil Stadium.