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
Saban vs. Meyer
BIG TEN SCOREBOARD
Final Nevada 3 Louisiana-Lafayette 16 Final Utah State 21 UTEP 6 Final 22 Utah 45 Colorado State 10 Final Western Michigan 24 Air Force 38 Final South Alabama 28 Bowling Green 33
6:00 PM ET Marshall Northern Illinois 9:30 PM ET Navy San Diego State
12:00 PM ET Central Michigan Western Kentucky 8:00 PM ET Fresno State Rice
1:00 PM ET Illinois Louisiana Tech 4:30 PM ET Rutgers North Carolina 8:00 PM ET North Carolina State UCF
1:00 PM ET Cincinnati Virginia Tech 2:00 PM ET 15 Arizona State Duke 3:30 PM ET Miami (FL) South Carolina 4:30 PM ET Boston College Penn State 8:00 PM ET Nebraska 24 USC
2:00 PM ET Texas A&M West Virginia 5:30 PM ET Oklahoma 17 Clemson 9:00 PM ET Arkansas Texas
3:00 PM ET Notre Dame 23 LSU 6:30 PM ET 13 Georgia 21 Louisville 10:00 PM ET Maryland Stanford
12:30 PM ET 9 Ole Miss 6 TCU 4:00 PM ET 20 Boise State 10 Arizona 8:00 PM ET 7 Mississippi State 12 Georgia Tech
12:00 PM ET 19 Auburn 18 Wisconsin 12:30 PM ET 8 Michigan State 5 Baylor 1:00 PM ET 16 Missouri 25 Minnesota 5:00 PM ET 2 Oregon 3 Florida State 8:30 PM ET 1 Alabama 4 Ohio State
12:00 PM ET Houston Pittsburgh 3:20 PM ET Iowa Tennessee 6:45 PM ET 11 Kansas State 14 UCLA 10:15 PM ET Washington Oklahoma State