Current role: Offensive coordinator at Cincinnati
The connection: He’s probably the most unfamiliar candidate to Jones on this list, and thus already faces long odds to some extent. But Gran coached one year at Tennessee under Lane Kiffin in 2009, and then was hired to replace Bajakian at Cincinnati in 2013 when Jones brought much of his staff to Tennessee.
Pros: Gran is known as one of the best recruiters in the nation with tons of ties in Florida in particular. He knows the SEC well after a long tenure at Auburn and his stop at UT. His system is a little bit more pro-style, but he mixes in tempo and spread elements as well – all things that Jones likes. He has a fantastic reputation as a person, recruiter and he’s had some success calling plays at Cincinnati with the Bearcats finishing 31st in the nation in scoring offense and 29th in total offense in 2014.
Cons/Questions: His lack of connections with Jones could be a quick deal breaker. And it’s not completely clear if he’s philosophically close enough to Jones to be a good fit. Though he’s having some early success as a coordinator at Cincinnati, he’s primarily been known as a position coach and recruiter in his career. He’s also very close to current UC head coach Tommy Tuberville – would he leave him at this point, even for the UT job?