Cast in a Leadership Role, Doran Grant Wants to Make Ohio State, Akron Proud

By Patrick Maks on August 9, 2014 at 6:00a

Doran Grant checked into Ohio State’s team hotel Thursday morning wearing a Nike tank top that read “Summit County” and a Script Ohio flat bill hat.

He’s proud of his hometown of Akron and proud fellow St. Vincent-St. Mary High School alum LeBron James is returning to Northeast Ohio to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He’s proud of the love letter the NBA megastar penned to the region.

“I felt exactly what he was talking about,” he said. “That’s where you’re from. That’s just where you live and grew up so you’re gonna love it.”

Grant, a senior cornerback, is also proud of Ohio State, a place where he’s the new face of a secondary that doomed its championship hopes last season.

He’ll be asked to shut down the Big Ten’s best wide receivers and help turn around a unit that finished 112th in pass defense. He’ll also be asked to step into a leadership role on a team looking for more new faces to guide it.  

It’s why Grant sauntered into the Hyatt Place – the quarters where the Buckeyes will spend the remainder of fall camp – carrying a handmade poster from his internship with the Boys & Girls Club of Columbus in his left hand.

“That was a goodbye poster they made me for me on my last day so I brought it for motivation,” he said. “I miss those dudes.”

On a day where players bring only the bare necessities to get them through the hardest two weeks of the summer, Grant couldn’t go without this.

“Working with them all summer, they look up to you and you wanna do good,” he said. The poster is a reminder of that. It offers perspective.

“It basically puts you in a leadership role where you have to do good, you have to do right because you have others watching,” he said. “That’s part of being a Buckeye period. I’m used to it."

What Grant’s less familiar with, however, is assuming the role of a veteran who will have to do so much for coach Urban Meyer and Ohio State next season. He’s the oldest and most experienced member of a secondary that unraveled at the seams last season.

“His improvement this year has been dramatic,” cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs said in April. “He is a young man with incredible athletic ability. His combine-type numbers are going to match those of many of the great corners in the country today and those that have played here.”

Grant’s athleticism, of course, has never been in doubt. But if the going gets tough again this fall, he’ll need to be a rock for a relatively inexperienced back end. 

“We were 24-0, then we lost two games and I feel like we have something to prove. That’s what we did this spring. And that’s what we’re going to do this fall,” he said in April.

“I have high confidence in my room. I love what we’re doing. As a group, we’re getting tighter and tighter. That’s what I’m enjoying the most, especially seeing the guys getting better.”

Other members of the secondary like cornerbacks Armani Reeves, Gareon Conley, Marshon Lattimore and Damon Webb and safeties Tyvis Powell, Vonn Bell and Cam Burrows are looking up to him on the field.

So are the Boys & Girls Club of Columbus off of it. Grant's aware of this.

“You wanna be a positive role model,” he said. “That’s what I’m trying to do.”

For a guy with who wants to make them, Akron and Ohio State proud, that's a pretty good way to do so.


Comments Show All Comments

TexasBuck11's picture

Great write up Patrick! Love to see these guys with a good head on their shoulders. I'm excited to see the secondary this year. Grant has been a monster and he is poised for a great year!

robobuck's picture

Sounds like Doran has become a man off the field and in his mind. That will be clear on the field as well. Please football hurry up.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.  1 Corinthians 9:24

MN Buckeye's picture

Looking forward to watching him play this fall. We need new leaders like him to step up.

dubjayfootball90's picture

Awesome write up, as was said before. This guy, to me, has been growing up dramatically and had a good individual year last year. I am very excited to see how he plays in a much more aggressive defensive scheme. I bet he is going to shine like none other. Real excited and glad to hear he is keeping himself extremely grounded. Soooo close to kickoff!!!

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

+1 HS
Run_Fido_Run's picture

So close to kickoff? When you were eight years old and it was 21 days before Santa Claus was to come down the chimney, did you feel like it was so close to Christmas morning?

+1 HS
dubjayfootball90's picture

I was more concerned with making it through the night without peeing my bed... YEA I WAS LATE STAGE BED PEER.. WHAT!!! YOU GOT BEEF, BRO?!?!?!

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

OSUBias's picture

Do you even pee your bed, bro?

7 yards and a cloud of dust is a beautiful thing

Run_Fido_Run's picture

No beef, bro, I know that you played some college ball.

Besides, I had childhood problems of my own. For example, I was an early stage nocturnal emitter.

+1 HS
jonping67's picture

The minutes the calendar hit December I was excited for Christmas as a child. The minute the calendar hits August I get excited about college football and ecstatic about tOSU football.

+1 HS
RBuck's picture

Paying forward at it's best.

Long live the southend.

ArizonaBuckeye's picture

Doran has his priorities in order. He's the kid I want playing in my program. I expect a big year from the young man. Again, Chris Ash will prove his worth. Guaranteed. Go Bucks!

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you." -Woody Hayes-

Darryl H's picture

Proud of you cuz

Darryl H