Todd Hartley is the perfect example of what Kirby Smart wants for Georgia football
All Georgia tight ends coach Todd Hartley has done since returning to his alma mater ahead of the 2019 season is recruit extremely well and put his players in the NFL.
The Bulldogs have had a tight end taken in each of the three seasons Hartley has been in charge of the position, with John FitzPatrick being the latest selection by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Hartley also had a big hand in signing 5-star Darnell Washington, 4-star Brock Bowers and 4-star Oscar Delp in successive classes. All were top 3 ranked tight end prospects in their respective recruiting classes.
Before even factoring in the emergence of Bowers last season, Hartley had clearly shown he was one of the best tight end coaches in the country. He is now being compensated as such, as a raise bumps Hartley’s salary up to $650,000. Documents obtained by DawgNation also state that Hartley’s contract was extended through 2024.
His salary is the most for any tight end coach in the country that doesn’t have a coordinator or assistant head coach designation.
What the Todd Hartley raise says about the Georgia football program
The new contract comes before what should be a monster season for the Georgia tight ends. Bowers and Washington both return, while Georgia adds Delp and former 5-star prospect Arik Gilbert to the room. It has been called the most talented position group in the country by some in the national media.
Related: More details on new contract for Todd Hartley
No longer are fans wondering why Georgia doesn’t get tight ends more involved. Bowers was the focal point of the passing offense a season ago. If Washington can remain healthy and Gilbert and Delp develop, the tight end position as a whole will help elevate the Georgia passing offense.
“He’ll be the first to tell you he’s got to continue to grow, to get in shape, to change his body, and he can get an opportunity to help us,” Smart said of Gilbert after the spring game. “With the two other guys we’ve got coming back, it makes it a luxury of those guys being able to make us a special football team.”
Hartley’s contributions to Georgia though aren’t just limited to the tight end room. He is a key part in orchestrating Georgia’s punt unit, which has been a real weapon for the Bulldogs. Georgia will replace Jake Camarda with freshman Brett Thorson at the punter position this year, but expect Georgia to still have strong special teams play.
Georgia has made it a point to pony up for its offensive staff members this offseason. New wide receivers coach Bryan McClendon is set to make $700,000. That’s $150,000 more than what Cortez Hankton made last season, as he left to make $900,000 as LSU’s wide receivers coach.
Offensive coordinator Todd Monken is similarly well compensated, as he is set to make $2 million. It is believed he is the highest-paid assistant coach in the sport. Georgia won a National Championship last season in part because of its defense, but the Georgia administration has made sure to keep the offensive brain trust from that run in Athens as well.
The Georgia administration is showing the kind of commitment needed to keep the Bulldogs at a championship level. You can’t always expect to keep coaches of Hartley’s caliber — Marshall was reportedly very interested in hiring him as its head coach — but when you can, you have to pay them what they are worth.
“When you hire good people, they’re going to get opportunities if you do well. I’ve been very fortunate,” Smart said in a recent interview with Paul Finebaum. “I want coaches to say, ‘Man, I want to go there because guys get an opportunity because what they do for us while they’re there is what gives them an opportunity to go somewhere.’ We buy into that. We’ve got a great culture there of, I want guys to get an opportunity to be head coaches.