Final countdown: Impact player No. 6
August, 26, 2012
By Austin Ward | ESPN.com
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Training camp is over and game preparations have begun. The torture of the offseason is nearly over, and Ohio State's first game under Urban Meyer is closing in. Leading up to the opener against Miami (Ohio), BuckeyeNation will count down the 10 players that figure to have the biggest impact on Meyer's first campaign, continuing with an linebacker who is trying to live up some great expectations.
- POSITION: Middle linebacker
- BASICS: A four-star recruit who showed up at Ohio State as perhaps the most elite member of the 2011 signing class, Grant struggled with the playbook and was limited to a role on special teams as a freshman. The athleticism that generated all the early hype is still there for the 6-foot-3, 235-pounder and is waiting to be unleashed.
- BY THE NUMBERS: Grant only has two career tackles to his credit after failing to make an impact as a freshman. And while it might be difficult to match a season like he posted as a senior in high school with 134 tackles as a first-year starter, the Buckeyes are clearly hoping for something that more closely resembles that production than he provided a year ago.
- OPPORTUNITY FOR IMPACT: The linebacker corps wasn't loaded at depth in the spring, but Ohio State still had a veteran option with starting experience coming back at Grant's position. The coaching staff went with him anyway, trusting that the mental part of the game was catching up with Grant's natural physical skills and handing him the responsibilities that come with his role in the middle. Assuming Grant's extra work with the playbook truly allows him to simply read and react to the action this fall, he could have a major influence on a defense trying to establish itself again as one of the nation's best units.
- HE SAID IT: "He’s got to continue to do what he’s done and continue to show us, but he’s one of those guys that I promise you I’ll lay my head at night on my pillow knowing that he’s going to give me everything he’s got. He loves this game, he’d die for this game, he studies it, he works at it, he’s got a chance to be a great player. A1, it's because of his passion to play the game of football." -- defensive coordinator Luke Fickell
Braxton Miller, Ohio State Begin Spring Drills
BIG TEN SCOREBOARD
Final Washington State 45 Colorado State 48 Final 20 Fresno State 20 25 USC 45 Final Buffalo 24 San Diego State 49 Final Tulane 21 Louisiana-Lafayette 24
Final Pittsburgh 30 Bowling Green 27 Final Utah State 21 23 Northern Illinois 14
Final Marshall 31 Maryland 20 Final Syracuse 21 Minnesota 17 Final Brigham Young 16 Washington 31
Final Rutgers 16 Notre Dame 29 Final Cincinnati 17 North Carolina 39 Final Miami (FL) 9 18 Louisville 36 Final Michigan 14 Kansas State 31
Final Middle Tennessee 6 Navy 24 Final Ole Miss 25 Georgia Tech 17 Final 10 Oregon 30 Texas 7 Final 14 Arizona State 23 Texas Tech 37
Final Arizona 42 Boston College 19 Final Virginia Tech 12 17 UCLA 42 Final Rice 7 Mississippi State 44 Final 24 Duke 48 21 Texas A&M 52
Final Nebraska 24 22 Georgia 19 Final UNLV 14 North Texas 36 Final Iowa 14 16 LSU 21 Final 19 Wisconsin 24 9 South Carolina 34 Final 5 Stanford 20 4 Michigan State 24 Final 15 UCF 52 6 Baylor 42
Final 13 Oklahoma State 31 8 Missouri 41 Final 12 Clemson 40 7 Ohio State 35