Our Team

Michael Gartman – Founder, Senior Writer

Michael Gartman - June 2013 Profile PictureMichael Gartman is a writer, editor and entrepreneur and serves as a College Football and NFL Senior Writer and the Founder, CEO of GridironGrit.com.

His work is regularly syndicated to FOXSports.com and has also been linked to CBSSports.com, Sports Illustrated, NFL.com, SFGate, SeattlePi, Chron.com, the USA Today and NationalFootballPost.com, among many other destinations. He was also mentioned by ESPN’s Paul Kuharsky on April 30, 2010 and a featured guest on CBS Sports Radio (SportsRadio 610 KILT) on July 3, 2010.

He’s also a co-host of an online weekly radio show on the NFL Draft and interviewed several NFL draft prospects in the spring of 2014, most notably St. Louis Rams first round defensive tackle Aaron Donald (No. 13 overall) and sixth-round cornerback E.J. Gaines (see below).

Michael has also worked with Andy Benoit of MMQB.SI.com (formerly of CBSSports.com and the New York Times) at NFLTouchdown.com, working his way up from a team beat writer (March 2010 to July 2011) to the Managing Editor (July 2011 to March 2012), where he focused on tagging and keyword efforts, administrative duties editing and overseeing content and social media endeavors, as well as scouting new writers and working with promotional relations.

His  favorite writers and broadcasters include Peter King (Sports Illustrated), Mike Florio (NBC Sports), Jason La Canfora (CBS Sports), Rich Eisen, Dave DameshekScott Hanson and Andrew Siciliano (NFL Network) and YouTube sensation JRSportsBrief.

Follow him Twitter @_MichaelGartman or shoot him an email at michaelgartman@comcast.net for any business inquires or networking, or if you just want to talk football or even politics.

Tanner Thoms – Co-Founder, Senior Writer

Tanner Thoms - June 2013 Profile PictureExperience: Former Minnesota Vikings Featured Columnist and Senior Analyst with Bleacher Report.  I’ve also worked for NFLMocks and I’m a Co-Founder, Senior Writer and the NFC North Lead Writer for Gridiron Grit.

Education: Graduated from Roosevelt High School (Sioux Falls, SD) in 2012.

Personal: I’ve always imagined what it would be like to walk a day in somebody else’s shoes. Likewise, I’ve always dreamed of what it would be like for someone to walk in mine.

Unfortunately, in this day and age, you can’t just switch lives with another person. That said, you can still learn a few facts about me, Tanner Thoms.  I was born to my mother, Kaye Bruns, and father, Tom Thoms, on February 26, 1994.  I was blessed with a loving sister that I was able to socialize with when we were in the house.

Here we are, 18 years later.  I’ve been an avid sports fan since I can remember and have been pursuing my passion for sportswriting since I was 10-years-old.

Contact: Send me an email at Tannerthoms28@yahoo.com, follow me on Twitter @TannerThoms and you can find me on Facebook by typing in “Tanner Thoms.”  I’m always up for a sports chat.

Ryan Cook – Co-Founder, NFL Senior Writer

Ryan Cook - June 2013 Profile PictureExperience: Co-Founder, NFL Senior Writer and AFC West Lead Writer for Gridiron Grit.  I’ve also worked for Bleacher Report, as a Featured Columnist and Community Leader for the Packers, where I’ve also covered several major sporting events such as the US Open, US Masters and Super Bowl Halftime Show.

I’m also a former contributor to SB Nation and covered the Broncos at NFLTouchdown.com and the Boston Celtics at Celtics 24/7.

Along with having numerous articles featured on the likes of NFL.com, CBSSports.com, The Dallas Morning News, Philly.com, NationalFootballPost.com, ESPN.com, the USA Today and Huffington Post, I’ve provided hourly Green Bay Packers updates for Sirius Radio Channel 98 “The Score” on January 21, 2011 and have been mentioned by ESPN.com’s Jerry Greene.

Education: Currently pursuing a Bachelors in Journalism at Griffith University.

Personal: As an American sports fan living in Australia, I’ve been writing about the NFL for at least three years now.  I’m 19 years old and trying to make my way into the industry.  My favorite writers are Jason La Canfora, Adam Schefter, Peter King, Mike Wilbon, Woody Paige, Bill Simmons and John Clayton.

“Writing’s a trade, like carpentry. You have to do it everyday to be good at it.”—Peter King

Contact: Send me an email at ryan.cook392@gmail.com and follow me on Twitter @RyanCook13.

Oren Shiri – Creative Director, Analyst

Oren Shiri - June 2013 Profile PictureExperience: Oren Shiri is a College Football and NFL Analyst and the Creative Director for Gridiron Grit.  His articles are regularly syndicated to FOXSports.com and have also been linked to ESPN and CBSSports.com, among other major networks.

Education: University of Colorado at Boulder Graduate and earned his MBA in Business Management at the University of Pheonix.

Personal: A Los Angeles-based sportswriter and an analyst during baseball, basketball and football season and beyond, Oren writes on the Pac-12, AFC North, NFC South, AFC West (check out my column Oren’s Observations On Oakland) and the NFL Draft.

Contact: Follow Oren Shiri, Founder of NFL Draft Insiders on Twitter @NFLorentime.

Barry Barnes – NFL Insider

Barry Barnes - June 2013 Profile PictureExperience: I was an NFL Writer at AOL FanHouse, covering the AFC North Division before Sporting News bought out the company.  Since then, I’ve covered everything  D.C. sports-related (mainly football and basketball) for Examiner.com as the D.C. Sports Examiner and provided content for the Sports Journey Network, along with other media outlets.

Since 2010, I’ve co-hosted a televised post-game program catered to the Redskins, The Sideline Report.  For the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to be a guest as an NFL and NBA analyst for countless sports radio talk shows, both national and international.  I joined GridironGrit.com as an NFL Insider in October, 2011.

Education: Studied Sports Administration at Morgan State University.

Personal: I’m happily married to LaTia Barnes and we have four outstanding gifts—all boys in Zaire, Zachari, Zaelin, and Zanye Barnes.

My passion for sports span from the womb to the playing fields (unfortunately, not professionally) to sports storytelling.  The hard-work of pursuing a career in sports media allowed me to enter locker rooms of many NBA and NFL teams to gather information in order to give my readers and fans other perspectives about their favorite teams and favorite athletes’ situations.

The experiences and bumps during my journey towards becoming a full-time sports journalist has made me stronger and more determine to battle through rejection. Given the chance, I know I will be a great asset for any major publication.  With chapters of my career yet to be written, I hope to provide great content, be informative and challenge my readers and fans to think “Big Picture” and out-of-the-box along the way.

Contact: Find me on Facebook, take a gander at my profile on LinkedIn and follow me on Twitter @2BSports.

Brian Jones – NFL & College Football Contributor

Brian Jones - June 2013 Profile PictureExperience: Since 2006, I have been covering sports in the Atlanta area.  I’ve also been a member of the Football Writers Association of America since 2010.

I have published stories for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Georgia Public Broadcasting, Chuckoliver.net, Hooters Magazine, Bleacher Report, Score Atlanta and 790 The Zone.

In addition to covering the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta Braves and Georgia Bulldogs, I’ve also covered events such as the Chick-fil-A Bowl, the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game and Wrestlemania.

Education: I graduated from Kennesaw State University in 2004 with a Bachelor in Science.  My major was Communication with an emphasis in Media Studies.

Personal: My favorite sport is football, but I love to watch and play all sports.

Stix Symmonds – College Football Analyst

Stix Symmonds - June 2013 Profile PictureExperience: I have been following and analyzing the football landscape since I was a wee lad back in 1981.  Despite having a life-long affair with the written word, I didn’t start writing about football until 2008, focusing my early creative juices on music and short stories.

Since 2008, I have worked my way from the FOX Sports community blogs through a short stint with cfb-campus to become a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report.  I was a member of the Kickoff Extravaganza Team and Bowl Coverage Team for B/R in 2011.

My writing has been syndicated to numerous national media outlets and sports sites, including CSBSports.com and the Washington Post.  I’m excited to add my experience to the GridironGrit.com family!

Personal: I’m a huge college football fan that hails from the great state of Iowa. As a big Hawkeye fan, it was some shock to me when I moved to Virginia in 2007 to be surrounded by a sea of Hokie maroon and orange!

I’m the father of a soon-to-be 15-year-old free safety / tight end, whom I’m sure will one day set the college football world on fire. If not, he may just set the world on fire…literally.  He’s my reason for breathing and I’m excited to impart as much knowledge on him as he is willing to accept. Being 15, that’s not much.

I offer a viewpoint that has seen college football transition from the days of odd bowl pairings and meaningless polls, through the pre-BCS nonsense, to the BCS and now to a version of a playoff.

I’ve seen programs rise and fall, conferences come and go and the landscape change until it’s unrecognizable from what it once was. I gladly offer that insight with a pinch of humor and an unabashed dose of opinion for your perusal/debate.

Michael Taglienti – Analyst

Experience: Michael Taglienti covers College Football and the NFL for GridironGrit.com.  He’s also a Texas A&M Aggies Football Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report.

Contact: Follow him on Twitter @miketag98.

Blake Silvers – Contributor

Blake Silvers Beach - June 2013 Profile PictureExperience: Bleacher Report Analyst and my work at Gridiron Grit, which is heavily centered around the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, is regularly syndicated to FOXSports.com.

Education: I have a background in History, with a degree from Kennesaw State University.

Personal: I’m a lifelong Braves fan, Georgia native and an Iraq Campaign veteran with the United States Army.

I’m married with one young daughter and a Labrador Retriever named Bear and currently reside in northwest Georgia.

Contact: Follow Blake Silvers on Twitter @JBlakeSilvers.

Ryan Lester – Fantasy Football Analyst

Ryan Lester - June 2013 Profile PictureExperience: Bleacher Report Featured Columnist, owner of LestersLegends.com, a fantasy sports site dedicated to helping you win your fantasy football, baseball and basketball leagues and former Minnesota Vikings Fan Voice on NFLTouchdown.com.

Education: Studied Marketing at the Syracuse University (Class of 1997).

Personal: Enjoy spending time with my wife and kids and all things sports.  I’m from Zimmerman, Minnesota and am happy to represent Gridiron Grit as the leading Fantasy Football Analyst.

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