August 24, 2011

Grant climbing the depth chart

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Fall camp has seen an abundance of true freshmen finding themselves in line for playing time this season. Well over half of the class looks on pace to contribute this fall and one player that has been steadily climbing the depth chart early on is cornerback Doran Grant. The freshmen defensive backs were brought along slowly at first, but Grant has ascended from running with the fourth team all the way to the second team over the last two weeks.

"I just need to keep getting better," Grant said. "I just have to learn to focus more and just take the time that it takes to become a good defensive back at the college level with the film work and just learning from the older guys."

With Travis Howard and Dominic Clarke as the only two corners on the roster with real playing experience at Ohio State, Grant has seized the opportunity to get some early playing time. Along the way, what few veteran corners there are on the roster have done all they can to help the young player out.

"They actually all help me a lot," he said. "When I first came in, Travis (Howard) took me along to 7-on-7's and basically taught me the two whole defenses at the corner spot. Bradley (Roby) helped me with learning the defense, all of the film work, he helped me a whole lot. Dionte Allen, he helped me with some of the stuff that the coaches were going to be expecting at camp and everything and so did Dominic Clarke. There's no selfishness in the defensive backfield, everybody is just trying to help each other get better."

As a group, the corners seem to have a mutal understanding that while they are all competing for playing time, helping each individual improve makes the unit as a whole much stronger.

"This year, not just with the corners, we're going to need everybody," he said. "Everybody is doubting us and everything but coach (Taver) Johnson just preaches that us corners are a family. No matter who plays, you just play your role and just help each other get better so we can win."

One thing that has helped prepare Grant for the speed he sees at practice everyday was playing in a pair of high profile all-star games during the off-season in the Ohio North/South game as well as the Big 33 game.

"The all-star games were fun, especially the big 33," Grant said with a smile. "We had a personal agenda against that Pennsylvania team so we had to handle that in the right way and I think we did."

For Grant, seeing himself as well as many of his fellow classmates running in the two-deep already is no surprise. This freshmen group brings a lot of confidence to the table and they all came ready to compete.

"We knew coming in that there were high expectations," he said. "Braxton (Miller) is running with the one's, Michael Bennett is running with the one's and two's, I'm running with the two's right now, Joel Hale, Jeff Heuerman, Tommy Brown, Antonio (Underwood), Devin (Smith) all running with the two's, everybody is just working hard. I've continued to state that coming in we've had underrated guys like Antonio Underwood and Devin Smith who should have been actually five-stars coming out of high school."

While nothing is certain until the season officially kicks off, early indications have certainly been very positive regarding the freshman class and the future looks to be in very capable hands.


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