Notebook: Grantham contract extension in the works

Georgia is working not only on a contract extension for coach Mark Richt, but is talking also to defensive coordinator Todd Grantham about lengthening his deal, athletic director Greg McGarity said Thursday.

“We recognize the job that Todd has done leading our defense,” McGarity said. “We’re talking about it, we’re working on it. Recruiting is going on right now. We’re working on making sure that Todd stays at the University of Georgia. We want to make sure he knows he’s appreciated.”

Georgia ranked third in the nation in total defense before the 33-30 triple-overtime loss to Michigan State in the Outback Bowl on Monday. The Bulldogs allowed 277.2 yards per game this season, a 51-yard improvement from Grantham’s first year in 2010.

The former NFL assistant coach has one year left on a three-year deal that pays him $750,000 annually. He’s the second-highest paid defensive coordinator in college football, according to USA Today.

“The focus to me is more or less longevity on the front end,” McGarity said. “The salaries are things you can do periodically. There’s no real urgency there. … With respect to Mark and with respect to Todd, I think it would be a hard argument to say we’re not being fair to them, judging from where they rank among their peers.”

McGarity said he’s spoken to Richt, who in turn has talked to Grantham about his contract.

Meanwhile, Richt and Georgia will continue
contract talks sometime in the next two weeks, McGarity said.

They have an agreement in principle to extend Richt’s contract, which currently runs through the end of the 2013 season, for at least two more years.

CHARLES ON NFL FEEDBACK: While there were a flurry of underclassmen declaring for the NFL draft on Thursday, no Georgia players have revealed decisions publicly yet.

Junior tight end Orson Charles said Thursday he still did not know whether he will enter the draft and didn’t expect to come to an answer in the next couple of days either. The deadline for underclassmen to declare is Jan. 15.

Charles said the NFL’s college advisory committee graded him with the potential to be drafted as high as the second round, but he said “the majority of people that I’ve been talking to” believe that he could go “as high as late in the first round or no later than the second.”

Charles was named first-team All-SEC and as an All-American by the American Football Coaches Association. He had 45 catches for 574 yards and five touchdowns this past season.

Charles’ decision could be impacted by the decision of other underclassmen at the position like Clemson’s Dwayne Allen, who had not announced his plans yet.

Classes begin Monday at Georgia, but the Tampa native may not be back by then.

“I’m not sure,” he said.

Safety Bacarri Rambo, linebacker Cornelius Washington, safety Shawn Williams and cornerback Branden Smith are other Georgia underclassmen who might enter the draft.

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