Grant emerging as a top prospect
He is one of the fastest-rising prospects in the country. He may be the best cornerback in the Midwest.
Doran Grant (5-foot-11, 175 pounds) is collecting scholarship offers daily. As of press time, the Under Armour All-American had more than 30, including Arizona, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Iowa, LSU, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, USC, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
As a junior at St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio) in 2009, Grant had 40 tackles and one interception and averaged 20.8 yards on kickoff returns. From his wide receiver position, he had 32 receptions for 666 yards and seven touchdowns. As a sophomore, he had 22 tackles and three interceptions.
Grant's father, Ted Jones, was Michigan State's leading receiver in 1980 and '81, and he has a sister who lives in the East Lansing, Mich., area. The Spartans could be an extremely attractive option for Grant.
His decision likely will come down to MSU or Ohio State. The ESPNU 150 Watch List recruit says the two schools are even in his book.
Grant knows where his family wants him to go. He also knows it's difficult to go against the family.
"I have a pretty good relationship with the coaching staff at Michigan State, and I've went up there a lot for games over the years when my dad went up there for alumni stuff," Grant said. "And I've got a sister up there, and I go up and visit her. So, it's a pretty good atmosphere to be around.
"My dad definitely wants me to be an MSU lean all the way, because it's a father's dream to have your son play where you played at and wear your number and all that. So, that's basically what's going on with him. But otherwise, he's taking it pretty good, and he's letting me freelance and have fun with it. He's not really pressuring me about the experience."
Despite the deep connections to Michigan State, Grant is very interested in Ohio State, and many believe he will end up signing with the Buckeyes.
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"I have a good relationship with the coaches at Ohio State," he said. "I talk to [cornerbacks coach Taver] Johnson on a regular basis by e-mail. I also talk to [offensive line coach Jim] Bollman, [safeties coach Paul] Haynes and [head coach Jim] Tressel. We keep a good relationship going and stay in contact with each other pretty often.
"I have a very high interest in Ohio State. I will say that right now: I have a high interest in them. I'm comfortable there, it's a good place to be and they are one of my top schools."
Grant shied away from naming a top five but listed eight schools that he likes the most at this stage.
"These are not in order, but Michigan State, Ohio State, Georgia Tech, Michigan, West Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia and USC," he said.
Grant blows up at Nike combine
At the Nike combine on March 6 in Massillon, Ohio, Grant absolutely stole the show. He scored the highest SPARQ rating (combination of the 40-yard dash, short-shuttle, vertical jump and power ball throw) of any participant at the event with a 124.5.
Grant says his fastest 40 time ever was 4.38 seconds and that he has been clocked several times in the mid 4.4s. He ran a 4.56 at the Nike combine, but that was good compared with others at the combine.
Where Grant really made his mark was in the vertical jump (41.2 inches) and the shuttle (3.97 seconds), as he placed first in both of those events. He also threw the power ball 37½ feet.
Despite the stellar performance, Grant wasn't impressed.
"I guess it's what I expected because I just came off of basketball, and I haven't done any training for football in a couple months," he said. "But it went pretty well. I wish I would have ran the 40 a little better and tossed the ball a little further, but I accept it."
As for emerging as one of the country's best football recruits, Grant is a personable young man who doesn't shy away from the notoriety. Yet he doesn't come across as cocky, either.
"Being one of the top guys is a lot of fun," he said. "You get to go around to events like this and compete against the best, and I love to compete. When I was younger, I would look around at all the top guys that would come out of our state and around the country with the all-star games and the five-star recruits and four-star recruits, and I was shooting to be one of those top guys. So, it's something like a dream come true."
Grant would like to make his decision in early January if possible.
"As of right now, that is when I'm going to make my decision: at the Under Armour [All-American] game or right before," he said. "That is the plan right now."
However, Grant could decide to pull the trigger earlier than that. He intends to give very close looks to Michigan State and Ohio State this spring on unofficial visits.
"I know Coach Tressel and [MSU head coach Mark] Dantonio pretty well, and I plan on going to some spring practices at those schools to get a better feel for them," Grant said. "If I know exactly where I want to go, I'll commit then. But I think I'll end up waiting it out."
Dave Biddle writes for the ESPN affiliate and Ohio State fan site Bucknuts.com.
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