Former University of Tennessee and NFL running back Jay Graham begins his third season at South Carolina. He was hired as the Gamecocks' running backs coach on January 19, 2009 and will be handling the additional duties as the tight ends coach for the 2011 season.
Graham, 36, was nominated for the 2010 Frank Broyles Assistant Coach of the Year Award and was one of four finalists for National Running Backs Coach of the Year by FootballScoop.com after seeing vast improvement in the Carolina rushing attack. His recruitment of tailback Marcus Lattimore was a key in leading the Gamecocks to 154.4 rushing yards per game - an improvement of 33 yards per game from 2009 - with Lattimore averaging 92.1 yards per contest. Lattimore also had three contests with more than 180 rushing yards and set numerous school records, including most yards by a freshman, most carries in a game and the single-season touchdown mark. Under Graham's guidance, Lattimore was a unanimous pick for National Freshman of the Year and SEC Freshman of the Year. In addition, Carolina's running backs lost only two fumbles all season.
During his first season with the Garnet & Black, Graham used four tailbacks to split the carries. The foursome of Kenny Miles, Brian Maddox, Jarvis Giles and Bryce Sherman entered the 2009 season with combined totals of just 38 carries for 135 yards (all by Brian Maddox). The quartet, which featured one junior and three freshmen, rushed 280 times for 1,267, an average of 4.5 yards per carry.
Graham came to Carolina after spending the 2008 season as the running backs coach at Miami (Ohio) University. He was the only member of the 2008 staff retained by new head coach Mike Haywood for the 2009 campaign.
A former Tennessee Volunteer star and a six-year veteran of the NFL, Graham went to the RedHawks from Tennessee-Martin, where he served one year as running backs coach and recruiting coordinator. Under Graham's tutelage, Skyhawk running backs averaged nearly five yards per carry in 2007.
Graham went to Tennessee-Martin from the University of San Diego where he was the running backs coach and co-special teams coordinator. He spent the 2006 season as a running backs coach at Chattanooga. In 2005, he worked at his alma mater as an offensive graduate assistant.
Graham rushed for 2,609 yards in his collegiate career (1993-96), ranking sixth on the Volunteers' all-time rushing list. He finished his career ranked second on the all-time carries list with 540, and he scored 25 times in his four-year career as a Volunteer. Graham had single season-best totals in 1995 when he rushed for 1,438 yards on 272 carries, placing him second in both categories in school history. He tallied a career-best 211 yards against Vanderbilt. He also set the school's single-season record for the most 100-yard rushing games with 10.
He was a third-round draft pick in 1997 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens.
Graham spent six seasons in the NFL for three different organizations - Baltimore Ravens (1997-2000) Seattle Seahawks (2001) and Green Bay Packers (2002).
In 2004, Graham returned to the University of Tennessee to finish his undergraduate degree in psychology. He completed his master's of science degree in sports management from UT in 2008. Graham attended Concord High School in Concord, N.C., where he was a USA Today All-American football player in 1992. Born in Durham, N.C., Jay and his wife, Kelly, are the parents of two daughters, Nia and Denae, and two sons, Jayson and Kellan.