Giff Smith, who has developed a national reputation as an outstanding recruiter and defensive coach, enters his fifth season at Georgia Tech as defensive line coach and as recruiting coordinator. He also reunites with Paul Johnson, whom he worked with at Georgia Southern a decade ago.
Smith's defensive line was one of the premier units in the ACC in 2007. Georgia Tech ranked first nationally in sacks and second in tackles-for-loss while ranking in the top 30 in rushing defense, scoring defense and total defense. Junior tackle Vance Walker earned first team All-ACC honors and senior end Darrell Robertson was a second team selection. Junior Darryl Richard was second team Academic All-America.
Also in 2007, Smith watched eight true freshmen that he helped recruit play key roles as rookies. Running back Jonathan Dwyer and quarterback Josh Nesbitt, two highly-recruited Georgians, highlighted one of the nation's top recruiting classes.
In each of Smith's four seasons at Tech, the Yellow Jackets have ranked in the top 30 nationally in rushing defense, scoring defense and total defense. The Georgia Tech defense has been exceptionally strong against the run, ranking in the top 20 nationally each of the past four seasons.
In 2006, two of Smith's defensive linemen made the All-ACC team last fall. Tackle Joe Anoai was a first team selection, and end Adamm Oliver earned second team honors.
In 2003-04, Smith worked with All-ACC defensive end Eric Henderson, the Yellow Jackets' all-time leader in tackles-for-loss. Henderson is now with the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League.
Smith came to Tech in 2004 after five seasons at Tulane, where he coached the Green Wave's defensive line all five years while serving as recruiting coordinator his last three years. He also held the title of associate head coach.
Smith has strong ties to the state of Georgia. A native of the Atlanta suburb of Mableton, he attended Pebblebrook High School and then played and coached at Georgia Southern.
A 1991 graduate of Georgia Southern, Smith was a member of three NCAA I-AA national championship teams at the school in 1986, 1989 and 1990. A three-time All-America defensive end, he helped the Eagles to a perfect 15-0 mark in 1989, and as a senior in 1990, he served as team captain.
He later spent three seasons at his alma mater, working with the wide receivers in 1996 and then the secondary under Johnson in 1997-98. During his time on the staff, the Eagles won a pair of Southern Conference titles (1997-98) and advanced to the NCAA I-AA national championship game in 1998.
Smith began his coaching career in 1991 as a graduate assistant at Arkansas, where remained three years before moving to Georgia for two seasons.
Smith was inducted into the Georgia Southern University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000. He is married to the former Jennifer Erickson. The couple has one child, Ava.