Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Oklahoma Sooners [Print without images]

Thursday, January 10, 2013
Freshman update: TE Sam Grant

By Brandon Chatmon

It’s happened on more than one occasion.

Oklahoma defensive ends coach Bobby Jack Wright has gotten in the ear of David King, filling the practice air with choice words for the Sooners senior. And one redshirting freshman was to blame for King’s predicament. Wright’s words came shortly after tight end Sam Grant had gotten the best of King during scout-team drills.

“He’s gotten me cursed out a few times by Coach Wright. And I don’t appreciate it,” King said with a grin. “He’s a handful.”

Grant is an intriguing prospect. Listed at 6-foot-7, 234 pounds, Grant was putting on weight to handle the rigors of playing tight end while honing his blocking prowess against King and the rest of OU’s defensive ends during practice last fall.

“Sam’s been terrific," tight ends coach Bruce Kittle said. "He’s put on about 18 pounds, he’s 253 (pounds) now. He’s filling out like we thought he would and he competes really well.”

Grant’s Ohio roots -- he’s from North Royalton, Ohio, which is roughly 20 miles south of Cleveland -- instilled toughness and a physical mindset into the Sooners tight end. He was very willing to show that mindset against OU’s No. 1 defense as a member of the Sooners' scout team.

“Sam can make some plays,” defensive end R.J. Washington said. “Every once in a while you’ll turn around and he’s pancaking somebody. He might catch you slipping, you take one bad step and that’s just enough for him to turn you and push you out of the hole.”

One year in the weight room was the ideal scenario for Grant and he’s taken advantage of the opportunity to grow as a player in the past 12 months.

“He’s going to be a great player,” King said. “He’s a physical guy who makes you work on scout team. Some guys go through the motions, but he makes you work. He’s got those long arms. Most guys, I can lock out because I have long arms but if he gets his arms on you, it’s a dogfight to try to get off his block.”

As a player who is already showing signs of blocking prowess and toughness, Grant might combine with Taylor McNamara to become a terrific combination of pass catcher/blocker for the Sooners offense in the future.

“Sam’s a big, physical guy and the older he gets, the more he will fill out and he’s already fast,” Washington said. “He’s just got to keep working.”

His physical nature and toughness has put Grant in position to earn a role in short-yardage situations this spring, potentially giving OU more personnel options during those critical times when OU needs to be physical and run the football.

“He’s a tough guy who doesn’t back down from anybody,” KIttle said. “He’s a tough kid who’s fearless, he cares and works really hard. We’re excited about him.”