CAIRO, Ga. — Walter Grant didn’t play on Friday night. It was Senior Night.
His Syrupmakers had already clinched their region title. The coaching staff knew his knee took a good jolt recently and saw no need to risk anything with the playoffs looming next week.
The night still proved memorable for another reason. Grant — a major UGA recruiting target for 2017 — went to the parent’s corner of the grandstand with the rest of his team for the alma mater. A public address announcer sauntered over and asked him the big question.
The nation’s No. 14 OLB prospect had prepared the school band to play both fight songs. He chose to stay with the in-state school.
“It was just a feeling,” Grant told DawgNation. “I just felt comfortable there. It was where I felt I could make the biggest impact.”
Cairo coach Steve DeVoursney felt Grant was wanted by Alabama. He said that Alabama coaches were hoping that Grant would postpone his decision until he got the chance to take a visit to check out Tuscaloosa.
The versatile athlete saw no need to wait. Grant can play inside or outside linebacker at the next level but also be an effective pass rusher right away in Athens at defensive end.
He’s also thrown a touchdown pass this year and piled up more than 400 rushing yards this season. The 4-star prospect has 95 total tackles this year with 10 quarterback pressures, 5 tackles for losses, 4 sacks and an interception.
In the end, Grant took two unofficial visits to Georgia this season. He never made a trip to see Alabama this fall. The Bulldogs were able to keep a coveted prospect in-state even though he grew up considering the Crimson Tide to be his dream school.
The 6-foot-4, 237-pounder becomes the 16th member of the 2017 recruiting class for UGA. He’s now the second LB prospect on the commitment list along with Westlake 4-star OLB Jaden Hunter.
The senior’s stock has been soaring of late in terms of his rankings. He’s now rated as the nation’s No. 203 overall prospect for his signing class.
DeVoursney said that Grant is actually working to enroll early at Georgia. He’s got the required GPA, but he only needs to raise his ACT score by a couple of points and he would be able to enroll early in January.
That would be significant. He also expressed great confidence in Grant. He said that he’d never taken a prep course for the ACT and he would be doing so in preparation for his next test.
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Follow Jeff Sentell on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges. Unless otherwise indicated, player rankings and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.