Coaching Spotlight: Grisham Steps into Major Role
Tyler Grisham has been preparing for his new role as an on-field assistant coach for years.
He just didn't think it would be at Clemson. The former Tiger receiver and off-the-field analyst told his wife Maggie to be ready to move at a moment's notice. Instead, that moment came with being able to stay right where he was.
Back in December, right after Clemson won its fifth consecutive ACC championship and earned another College Football Playoff bid, co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach Jeff Scott took the head coaching position at USF, leaving Clemson coach Dabo Swinney with a staff opening.
He wasted little time promoting Grisham to coach the pass-catchers while divvying up other responsibilities to current staff members. It was a dream come true for Grisham and his family, and it puts him in a very important role.
Clemson has had one of the nation's premier receiving corps for a decade, sending stars like Sammy Watkins, DeAndre Hopkins, Mike Williams and Tee Higgins, among many others, to the NFL.
"We're excited to have Grisham on board," Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said.
Here's a closer look at Grisham and his job duties heading into the 2020 season:
Like Scott and Elliott, Grisham played the exact position he's coaching for the Tigers. An Alabama native, just like Swinney, he played for his current boss when his current boss was the receivers coach. From 2005-2009, Grisham recorded 132 catches for 1,390 yards and eight touchdowns.
After graduating with a bachelor's in business administration and management, he latched onto the Pittsburgh Steelers as an undrafted free agent. Grisham played in four NFL games and caught one pass for 14 yards. He spent the next two seasons on Pittsburgh's practice squad before unsuccessfully trying to make the roster with the Denver Broncos in the 2012 preseason.
In 2014, he joined the Clemson staff a graduate assistant and earned a Master's in human resource development. After two seasons, Swinney kept Grisham on as an offensive analyst, where he's worked since the 2016 season. Grisham had also served as assistant director for Clemson's summer camps, where the staff evaluates high school prospects.
Grisham was not allowed to be on the practice field once the footballs came out, and he spent much of his time working on receivers as well as tight ends. He said working off the field gave him an opportunity to learn the entire offense, including blocking schemes and what each position does. Grisham also studied Scott's coaching style.
Clemson has gone 79-8 since he joined the staff. He was named the interim receivers coach while Scott split his time between USF and Clemson during last season's CFP run.
Grisham officially became the receivers coach on Feb. 6, when he signed a contract that will pay him $300,000 annually.
The new receivers coach instantly brought new energy to the practice field. Elliott said Grisham's "enthusiasm and his passion...appreciation for the opportunity" gave Elliott a fresh perspective with the staff.
Grisham has already earned a reputation as a hard worker and a stickler for detail, according to Clemson's receivers. His time in the NFL will help prepare receivers for the next level, and his ambition should help him move up in the coaching world.
"There’s never been a guy more prepared to be the receivers coach at Clemson than Tyler Grisham," Swinney said. "He had a great four-year career here. Clemson fans certainly loved him. He had a lot of big moments and went on and grinded out a four-year NFL career… He’s ready and is going to do an unbelievable job for us. He’s going to be special.”
Grisham's job duties
It didn't take long for Grisham to face his first challenge: coach a position without the best returning player.
Junior Justyn Ross had offseason surgery to correct a congenital fusion in his spine that will cost him the entire 2020 campaign. That means over 2,000 receiving yards, between Higgins and Ross, have to be filled.
Grisham has a young group that's anchored by seniors Amari Rodgers and Cornell Powell, so there is leadership. But how much sophomores Frank Ladson, Brannon Spector and Joseph Ngata and freshman E.J. Williams develop early in the season could determine how productive this group is in Grisham's first season.
From a recruiting standpoint, Grisham is off to a fast start. While he didn't handle that key aspect of the program as an analyst, he quickly landed Clemson's two highest-rated receivers of the 2021 recruiting class in Beaux Collins and Troy Stellato.
That certainly bodes well for Clemson moving forward as Scott was known as one of the top recruiters in the country during his time with the Tigers.