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Grantham leaves Georgia to join Louisville staff

(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

By CHARLES ODUM

AP Sports Writer

ATLANTA (AP) Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham has accepted a similar position on Bobby Petrino's staff at Louisville.

Georgia coach Mark Richt confirmed Sunday night that Grantham had accepted an offer from the Cardinals. Grantham was Georgia's defensive coordinator for four years.

Grantham, who was given the additional title of associate head coach in 2012, was earning $850,000 per year at Georgia. ESPN reported Grantham will earn $1 million per year in his five-year deal at Louisville.

Grantham produced mixed results at Georgia. In 2011, the Bulldogs ranked fifth in the nation in total defense. His 2012 defense struggled at times despite having seven players selected in the 2013 NFL draft.

The Bulldogs then ranked eighth in the Southeastern Conference in total defense and 78th in the nation in scoring defense in 2013. They finished 8-5 while giving up 29 points per game.

The signature play of the 2013 season for Georgia and its defense came in the final minute of the Bulldogs' 43-38 loss to Auburn. Nick Marshall's 73-yard pass was deflected by Georgia defensive back Josh Harvey-Clemons and then caught by Ricardo Louis for the go-ahead touchdown with 25 seconds remaining.

Richt said he already has heard from possible candidates to replace Grantham.

"We are appreciative of all the contributions Todd has made to our program and wish him nothing but the best," Richt said. "But at the same time the opportunity to work at Georgia is extremely attractive and there already is, and will be, interest from some very, very outstanding coaches.

"We have a lot of defensive players coming back, as well as some outstanding defensive recruits, and there's going to be plenty of interest in coaching them. I'm excited about the prospects of a great defensive coordinator being on board as quickly as possible."

Georgia expects to return 10 starters on defense.

Grantham is the second defensive assistant to leave Richt's staff. Secondary coach Scott Lakatos resigned on Thursday, citing undisclosed personal reasons.

Updated January 12, 2014

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