Expectations will be high this fall in Columbus, Ohio, as Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes figure to be ranked inside the preseason top three and favored in every game they play. The Buckeyes have become the trendy pick to play in Pasadena for a national championship on January 6, 2013. With ten starters returning, their offense should have no trouble doing their part. The defense, on the other hand, will have some holes to fill, starting with the departure of cornerback Travis Howard. Doran Grant is the favorite to earn the starting nod alongside All-American, Bradley Roby, as the second cornerback.
Doran Grant hails from Akron, Ohio and attended high school at St. Vincent-St. Mary. Grant enjoyed an illustrious career with the Fighting Irish and was named a two-time all-state honoree as well as a USA Today All-American while playing offense, defense, and special teams. Grant also received invitations to play in the Under Armour All-American Game, the Ohio North-South Classic, and the Big 33 Game. Prior to beginning his senior year, Grant was pursued by virtually every college football program in the country. Despite living a mere 100 miles to the north of The Ohio State University, he decided to evaluate several colleges and wait until after his senior season to make a college decision. On January 3, 2011, in front of several thousand onlookers, Doran Grant committed to the Ohio State Buckeyes at the Under Armour All-American Game.
Grant’s talents were immediately put to use by the Ohio State coaching staff. He played in all 13 games as a true freshman, not only on special teams, but also as a backup cornerback behind Travis Howard. Starting cornerbacks, Bradley Roby and Travis Howard, returned in 2012, leaving Doran Grant as the backup, yet again. Grant was the first player to come off of the bench at defensive back last season and saw a significant amount of playing time due to Travis Howard’s glass frame.
In week four, against UAB, Grant received the starting nod at cornerback. He was sure to make his presence felt and wanted show the coaching staff that he was ready to contribute. With 1:50 left in the first half, he recovered a fumble to set up an Ohio State touchdown that gave the Buckeyes a two point lead heading into halftime. Grant put the game away with 5:00 left in the fourth quarter when he picked off a pass from UAB quarterback, Austin Brown.
On October 13, 2012, on the road against Indiana, Doran Grant’s name was called again but this time things did not work out quite as well. In the third quarter of a very tight game, Grant came in to replace an injured Travis Howard. Indiana quarterback, Cameron Coffman, decided to take full advantage of Grant’s inexperience. Grant was quickly beat by Hoosier wide receiver, Kofi Hughes, for 39 yards. On the very next play, Grant got beat again, only this time he was called for pass interference, putting Indiana in field goal range. Meyer wasted no more time and immediately took Doran Grant out of the game.
With the Buckeyes returning three of their starting defensive backs from 2012, this unit figures to be a tremendous asset in the upcoming season. With only one spot left to be filled, Doran Grant is the favorite to play alongside Bradley Roby as the second cornerback, in 2013.
Grant’s success will be a key factor in Ohio State making a national championship run. If he thrives, the Buckeyes will have one of the best defensive backfields in the nation. If he fails, however, their secondary could have a long season. A weak defensive back can easily cost a team a game and in turn, a season. This being said, I am fully confident in Grant’s ability and feel that he will become a defensive play-maker. He is an extremely physical cornerback and one of the strongest players on this Ohio State team.
If Grant is able to survive the 2013 season, he will position himself to become the leader of the Silver Bullets, in 2014, with the probable departure of Bradley Roby and Ryan Shazier. Bradley Roby is projected to be a top ten pick in this year’s NFL draft and will help Doran Grant exponentially this season. Roby will help familiarize Grant with the defense and more than likely bail him out a few times throughout the year as well. With two potential All-B1G safeties returning, there will be some room for error early in the season but if Grant is unable to catch his stride, expect Armani Reeves or one of the true freshmen to take his spot.