Defensive line coach Smith to follow Gailey

On Wednesday, defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Giff Smith announced that he will be leaving Tech’s program. Smith will accept an assistant coach job for the Buffalo Bills.

Smith will join new Buffalo Bills coach and ex-Tech football coach Chan Gailey, who originally hired Smith as an assistant with the Jackets.

Smith worked at Tulane from 1999-2003 as a defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator before coming to Tech. Upon his arrival at Tech, Smith worked as a defensive line coach for two seasons and took over as the recruiting coordinator in 2006.

Before that, Smith worked under head coach Paul Johnson as a wide receivers and secondary coach while Johnson was at Georgia Southern.

While at Tech, Smith coached one of the ACC’s top defensive line units in 2007. That group started All-ACC defensive tackle Vance Walker and third-round NFL draft pick Michael Johnson at defensive end. The line also ranked No. 1 nationally in sacks and No. 2 in tackles-for-loss.

Off the field, Smith led the way in recruiting Tech’s highly touted 2007 class. The class included many key players for the Jackets such as quarterback Josh Nesbitt, B-back Jonathan Dwyer, defensive end Derrick Morgan and safety Morgan Burnett.

Smith’s decision comes just days before National Signing Day on Feb. 3. However, Tech’s commitments said that the move does not affect their decision to enroll at Tech. Smith may stay for another week to help Johnson in preparation for signing day.

The decision should not affect Tech’s recruiting for the rest of the season. The Jackets already have 16 commitments and they only have a couple more available scholarships.

Smith’s departure may affect the 2011 recruiting class, though, because Tech’s annual Junior Day is held later this week.

The move will be significant for Smith. He will move from Atlanta, where he grew up and raised his two children, to Buffalo, N.Y. Smith will also be coaching an entirely new position—outside linebackers—but Smith said this move is necessary if he wants to accomplish his goal of becoming a head coach.