Hear from Florida State Football's newest coaches
Jay Graham enters his second season at Florida State in 2014. The former All-SEC and NFL running back will continue to coach running backs and will add special teams coordinator responsibilities after helping the Seminoles capture the 2013 BCS National Championship.
Graham has spent nine years coaching, including three seasons in the SEC at South Carolina and one at his alma mater Tennessee where he was one of the most productive rushers in the history of the Volunteers.
Graham's first year of work at Florida State resulted in a tremendous ground attack that helped the Seminoles go undefeated (14-0) and have one of the most productive offenses in college football history, as the Seminoles set an FBS record for points in a season (723). Graham was influential in the continued progression of tailback Devonta Freeman, who became the first FSU rusher to amass 1,000 yards on the ground since Warrick Dunn in 1996. Freeman established 1,016 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns, while Karlos Williams broke through with 730 yards rushing and added 11 scores while averaging an astounding eight yards per carry. Rounding out the tremendous trio was James Wilder Jr., who totaled 563 yards and eight scores while averaging seven yards per tote. FSU set a school record with 42 rushing touchdowns.
In Graham's first season guiding the FSU rushing attack, Florida State piled up 2,844 yards on the ground and a 5.6 yards per carry average. The Noles' yards per carry matches the 2012 team's proficient average and is tied for the highest in a season since the 1995 team averaged 5.8 yards per rush.
Graham's influence on both the kickoff return and kickoff units in 2013 cannot be understated. Graham called the momentum shifting kick return play in the BCS National Championship that freshman Kermit Whitfield turned into a 100-yard score to give FSU a 27-24 lead with 4:31 left. Florida State finished first in the nation averaging 28.2 yards per kickoff return, and wound up 16th nationally allowing just 18.6 yards per kickoff return. Whitfield emerged as the nation's top kick returner, leading the country and setting the ACC record with 36.4 yards per return while finishing tied for second with two kickoff return TD's.
Throughout the majority of his coaching career, Graham has worked with running backs. His first full-time position in 2006 was as the running backs coach at Tennessee-Chattanooga. He went on to coach the backs at San Diego, UT-Martin, South Carolina and then back at his alma mater in 2012.
In just one year in Knoxville under Graham's guidance the Vols more than doubled their rushing output, from 70.4 yards per game in 2011 to 160.3 yards per game in 2012. Prior to his success in Tennessee, Graham tutored standout South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore while with the Gamecocks. Lattimore was on pace to become the first South Carolina rusher to post consecutive 1,000-yard seasons for the school since Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers before suffering an ankle injury that sidelined him for the final five games
Graham had an outstanding playing career in the SEC where he rushed for 2,609 yards from 1993-96 and still ranks seventh on the Tennessee career rushing yards list. His 11 100-yard games in 1995 are the most in one season in UT history and his 14 career 100-yard games rank second in Tennessee history. Graham earned All-SEC second team honors as both a junior and a senior and helped the Vols to three bowl victories. Overall he has coached and played in eight bowl games during his career.
Following his successful career at Tennessee, Graham was a third-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in 1997. He spent six seasons in the NFL with Baltimore, Seattle, and Green Bay.
Graham and his wife, Kelly, are the parents of two daughters, Nia and Denae, and two sons, Jayson and Kellan.