Virginia Tech assistant Jeff Grimes has been hired as the offensive line coach at LSU, according to a tweet from a fellow Tech coach and other sources.
Shane Beamer, the son of VT head coach Frank Beamer, posted this congratulatory message to Grimes on Twitter on Wednesday: “Congrats to @coachgrimey on his move to LSU. Excited for him to get closer to his TX roots. Thanks for making our OL better this past year.”
Grimes, 45, has been linked to the job for several days and emerged Tuesday as the leading candidate to replace Greg Studrawa, who “left” the school after seven seasons, the university said.
Grimes is the Hokies offensive line coach and run game coordinator. He just completed his first season at VT. He was previously at Auburn from 2009-2012 and is a Texas native who played tackle at UTEP.
Neither LSU or Virginia Tech could confirm the hire Wednesday.
LSU spokesman Michael Bonnette said the team is hoping to make an announcement on the new offensive line coach “as early as Friday.” The team will not comment on the process or candidates until then, he said.
LSU interviewed at least three candidates for the job — McNeese State line coach Rob Sale, Grambling assistant Ben Wilkerson and Kevin Mawae — but the former LSU linemen were seen as long shots.
Despite the recent reports of Grimes’ hiring, LSU coach Les Miles said Tuesday that he didn’t expect a hire for another “week to 10 days.”
Chris Patridge, the high school coach of Tech offensive line commitment Billy Ray Mitchell, also confirmed the news of Grimes’ hiring.
“(Grimes) or someone from the school called today to tell (Mitchell),” said Patridge, coach at Paramus Catholic High in New Jersey.
Grimes was set to make $280,900 this year at Virginia Tech, according to The Roanoke Times. Studrawa, LSU’s offensive coordinator in 2011-12, made about $500,000. The Tigers’ lowest-paid assistant makes a base salary of about $300,000.
Grimes was said to be LSU’s target since the school announced Studrawa’s departure last Wednesday. Patridge said Mitchell told him last week there was a “50 percent chance” Grimes would leave Tech for LSU.
Tech ranked 110th out of 125 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in rushing offense this past season as Grimes took over a makeshift unit.
Before his stints at Auburn and Virginia Tech, Grimes served as the offensive-line coach or/and run game coordinator at five different schools in 11 years. They include Hardin-Simmons (1998-99), Boise State (2000), Arizona State (’01-03), BYU (’04-06) and Colorado (’07-08).
His most prominent run came at Auburn from 2009-12, where he was offensive line coach under head coach Gene Chizik’s for four seasons. Chizik was fired after the 2012 season. Cam Newton-led Auburn won the national championship in 2010, but the Tigers were 19-19 the other three seasons.
During his four years at Auburn, the Tigers rushing offenses ranked 13th, fifth, 31st and 80th.
Trooper Taylor was the receivers coach at Auburn for those four years. He calls Grimes a “good friend.”
“To hear him teach was amazing,” Taylor said when reached Wednesday. “LSU fans will be excited about watching that offensive line.”
Taylor called Grimes a “really, really good recruiter.”
Grimes was influential in recruiting Thibodaux offensive guard Greg Robinson, who chose Auburn over LSU. Grimes was the “main difference” in getting Robinson to play out of state, Taylor said. Robinson is projected as a first round NFL draft pick this year.
“If he can get one to leave that’s 30 minutes from Baton Rouge,” Taylor said, “you’d think he could get one to stay there. Whatever kid he’s on in recruiting, LSU will always have a shot.”
During Grimes’ tenure at Auburn, he coached two NFL draft picks and several all-conference players.
Tackle Lee Ziemba was a consensus All-American and was selected by the Carolina Panthers in the seventh round.
Guard Byron Isom was named second-team All-Southeastern Conference, and center Ryan Pugh earned third-team All-America honors. Tackle Brandon Mosley was selected by the New York Giants in the fourth round.
Grimes and his wife, Sheri, have four children: daughters Bailey and Jada and sons, Garrison and Greydon.