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College notebook: Shayne Graham latest Hokie to join Florida football staff

College notebook: Shayne Graham latest Hokie to join Florida football staff

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Perhaps the Hokie Club should start a new chapter in the University of Florida football office.

Former Pulaski County High School, Virginia Tech and NFL place-kicker Shayne Graham joined the Gators in late February as a special-teams quality-control coach. He became the third ex-Hokie on Florida coach Dan Mullen’s staff.

The nationally ranked Gators went 12-2 last season, including an Orange Bowl win over Virginia.

“There are very high expectations that are set on the [Florida] program. You kind of want to be a part of that,” Graham said this week in a phone interview from his Florida home. “The weather’s warm and you’re in the SEC and all that, but [it’s about] knowing you’re in such a competitive environment and you can be a contender and … also know that it’s going to be an easier situation possibly to help you get exposed for further jobs down the road.”

Florida defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and cornerbacks coach Torrian Gray are also former Virginia Tech players; Gray was one of Graham’s teammates at Tech. Grantham and Gray have also been Tech assistants.

“I was recruited by Grantham [to Tech],” Graham said. “He’s from my hometown, so it made it kind of easy to have that connection … during recruiting. It was his idea to recruit Caleb Hurd [from Pulaski County] as my holder at Virginia Tech that made me even make that decision [to pick Tech] in the first place.”

Graham, 42, began his coaching career in 2017 as a special-teams quality-control coach at Central Michigan.

He spent the past two seasons at Michigan State, serving as a special teams analyst for Mark Dantonio.

“I loved working for him,” Graham said. “He reminds me a lot of [ex-Tech] Coach [Frank] Beamer in how much he cares for his players and coaches and the community. I think the players always came above just the bottom line of winning.

“[Dantonio] had a lot of trust and faith in me and gave me a lot of responsibility.”

Dantonio announced his retirement in February. Graham said he was already in discussions for the Florida job when Dantonio stepped down and already knew he was going to get the Florida position.

Graham has been working from his home since March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

As a quality-control coach, Graham is not allowed under NCAA rules to coach the players on the field during practices. But he is allowed to be on the sideline for practices and games.

Graham’s role will be to help special teams coordinator/running backs coach Greg Knox by handling the special teams unit’s practice plans; preparing the presentations for the unit’s meetings; charting kicks and drills in practice; and studying film of upcoming foes.

“That’s probably one of the most tedious parts of my job, is scouting the opponent with their [special teams] personnel and their schemes and their tendencies and kind of evaluating the film,” Graham said.

Graham, who spent 15 seasons as an NFL place-kicker, hopes to eventually return to the NFL as a special teams coordinator.

“I’ve enjoyed the process of kind of paying my dues,” he said.

QB Davis decommits

Dematrius Davis, a quarterback in the 2021 recruiting class who verbally committed to Virginia Tech last November, tweeted Wednesday that he is decommitting from Tech.

But the Texas native might still wind up picking the Hokies. He tweeted that he will still be taking an official recruiting visit to Tech.

“I want to make sure I am making the right decision for me and my family,” he tweeted.

Davis, who also tweeted “no love lost,” is rated the No. 4 dual-threat QB in the high school graduating class of 2021 by ESPN. He is rated the No. 216 player overall in that class by ESPN.

Men’s basketball news

Wake Forest center Olivier Sarr, who made the All-ACC third team as a junior last season, tweeted Wednesday that he is transferring to Kentucky.

He had entered the transfer portal after Wake Forest changed coaches.

  • Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports tweeted Wednesday that Virginia will play Villanova at Madison Square Garden next season.

Kagey bound for R-MC

Catherine Kagey, who helped the Faith Christian girls basketball team win both the VACA state title and the National Association of Christian Athletes tournament last season, has committed to defending ODAC tournament champ Randolph-Macon.

Kagey, who averaged 17.4 points as a senior, is the daughter of two Randolph-Macon graduates. Her father, Faith Christian girls basketball coach David Kagey, is a former Randolph-Macon basketball standout.

“I’m excited to bring the Kagey name back to Ashland [where the college is located],” she said Wednesday.

Kagey said she verbally committed to Randolph-Macon in March. Carroll LaHaye, who steered the Randolph-Macon women’s basketball team for 38 seasons, retired later that month. Kagey said she was disappointed by the news but decided to stick with the Yellow Jackets.

Marymount graduate Lindsey Burke, formerly an assistant at Rochester, was hired to replace LaHaye last week.

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Mark Berman covers Virginia Tech men’s basketball and many other teams at the university. He also helps cover other colleges, including Radford, VMI, Roanoke, Washington and Lee and Ferrum.

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