For most of his freshman year, Curtis Grant played on Hermitage High School’s (Richmond, VA) junior varsity squad. Varsity head coach Patrick Kane noticed his abilities, though, so when starting middle linebacker Daryl Howell went down with an injury, Grant was asked to step in…in the first round of the 2007 playoffs. From that point on, Grant, now a 6-3, 220-pound junior, has excelled on the varsity football level.
“I did my best to plug in and fill the spot,” Grant said, recalling his freshman season. He helped the Panthers to a Central Region championship that year. “I wanted to play varsity, but my parents didn’t want me to play. I worked hard. The varsity coaches told me all year, you never know when you’re going to have to step in. I was ready. I was playing with a whole bunch of older guys who knew what they were talking about, so I listened to them. They trusted me to make plays.”
Grant, one of the top overall prospects in the state of Virginia’s 2011 class, has been playing football since the age of six. He was a defensive lineman – just like his father was – until the seventh grade, when he made the transition to middle linebacker. Following top linebackers such as the NFL’s Ray Lewis and Patrick Willis and top college players like Alabama’s Rolando McLain, Grant hopes to be able to continue at middle linebacker on the next level.
“I feel more comfortable inside than I do outside,” Grant said. “I think you have to be more of an all-around linebacker when you’re inside and that’s how I see myself.”
The 2009 Colonial District Defensive Player of the Year certainly has produced for coach Kane. As a sophomore in 2008, Grant racked up 106 tackles including 20 tackles for loss and four sacks. He tallied 154 tackles including 22 tackles for loss and five sacks in 2009, earning AP Group AAA first-team all-state honors and a spot in next year’s U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
College coaches have known about Grant for some time. Last spring, the Panthers star earned verbal offers from Maryland, Virginia Tech and West Virginia. All three schools followed through with official offers. Boston College, Miami, Michigan, North Carolina and Virginia have since followed suit, extending written offers to the big-time prospect.
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