October 29, 2020

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Diamond in the Rough: D’Juan Grant

D’Juan Grant is a class of 2021 defensive back out of New Caney High School (New Caney, Texas). Grant is a multi-position athlete, playing in the slot, wideout, and is a kick/punt return specialist as well. Grant stands at 5’10, 172 lbs and possesses great strength at his size and positions. With a bench of 240 lbs and a squat nearing 400, Grant’s strength is evident in both his film and playstyle. Alongside his strength, Grant is a speedy athlete with a 40 time clocking in at 4.44. D’Juan shows incredible ability at tackling in space, and is as much of a threat in zone coverage as he is in man-to-man. Grant shows great ball awareness on the field, with a keen ability to sniff out routes, a trait picked up with his own experience at playing receiver. In addition to his football IQ, D’Juan strives for excellence in the classroom as well, maintaining a 3.5 overall GPA.


When did you first begin playing football and what made you want to get involved in the sport?

 I first started tackle football in Texas in the TYFA league at 5 and played flag football at 4. It’s something about hitting and making tackles that excites me. 

What was one of the first things about football that you fell in love with? 

Hitting in pads and scoring touchdowns for sure.

In your opinion, what would you say football means to you and how has it impacted your life so far? 

Football means a lot to me because I have met so many friends playing the sport and football really teaches you to overcome adversity. Everyone faces adversity in football. It also teaches you responsibility and brotherhood.

Do you have a motivation that drives you to excel in the sport, whether it’s a family member, personal success, or something else? 

Personal success makes me strive harder in football because my goal is to make it to the NFL. I always play with a chip on my shoulder because I’m not the traditional CB everyone looks far at 6’0. I’m just a Dog DB/ATH in a 5’10 172 frame. That’s what really drives me to be the best version of me that I can. I control what I can control and that’s my work ethic and physicality. I refuse to be outworked.

As a defensive back, what would you say is your biggest strength? And what is something you believe all players at your position should constantly focus on?  

My biggest strength is being able to cover in space and being able to be a man and a zone defensive back. Players in my position must always work at their craft. There is so much a defensive back has to understand each play. I would say never stop working on you, no matter how many offers you have or your status. It takes a special type of person to play defensive back.

Is there an athlete, college or professional, that you model your playstyle after or is someone that you look up to as an athlete?

 I play and look up to Jalen Ramsey. 

You also play receiver. Tell me a bit about how that has helped you progress a defensive back. 

Playing receiver has taught me how to easily guard the routes by where you are lined up either outside or inside the numbers . It has also taught me how to know what route the WR is going to run every time.

Talk to me a bit about how the recent COVID-19 pandemic has affected you as a player? 

It actually affected me mentally because I was scared at first. I just prayed about it and prayed that we all can stay safe. 

How did you and your team respond to the crisis? 

We responded well because the coaches at New Caney High School developed a plan and we really stuck to it. We worked out individually at home and we had zoom meetings online to help us understand the defensive and offensive schemes.

 Did you have to focus on working out by yourself and adapt differently to this challenge? 

I  mainly focused on not letting this challenging pandemic defeat myself by staying active and eating healthy. I always workout at home with my brother, so the workouts never stopped. I actually think I got more accomplished during the pandemic than I have during the other seasons. I was able to really focus on me and what I need to improve on as a player. I think I hit a majority of my goals during this off season. 

What personal goals do you have as an athlete moving forward in your career?

 Perfecting my craft and continuing to get better each snap. This chip on my shoulder won’t allow me to slow down. I want to be great! 

What would you tell a coach or recruiter that makes you stand out from other players at your position across the state?

 I am hardworking and determined to win against my opponent every snap. I am not the same person once I snap my helmet on. It’s all business and I refuse to let my man beat me.

Do you have any pre game rituals or superstitions?

I always listen to music and get in my zone. I like to pray in the end zone pregame.

What is something you wish you were told about football at a young age to help you as you grew older in the sport?

 I think learning your body and knowing how much to push yourself. Try and find your position early, so you can perfect it sooner. Also, learn the recruiting process in middle school.

Finally, what advice would you give to young players just coming up in the sport?

 Don’t let adversity define you. Always strive to get better than you were the day before.