ATHENS – Walter Grant started eight games for the Georgia Bulldogs in 2018. He was also an early contributor on a loaded defense during his true freshman season in 2017.
He’s had an interesting spring practice so far.
Kirby Smart said on Tuesday he’s been working at running back and tight end so far during spring drills. The beat corps has spotted Grant in a lot of areas and sometimes not even in the white jersey that Bulldogs defenders typically don.
Part of it might be the holes in the rotation at those spots.
Georgia is a little light at both those spot. For a variety of reasons.
The other facet here is Grant is just an all-around football player.
“He’s done a hell of a job,” Smart said, noting a clear sense of appreciation for a player who goes 6-foot-4 and 245 pounds on his roster.
Part of it might be that Grant is a pretty intelligent football player. Smart said he’s seen that out of Grant dating back to his time recruiting him when he was at Alabama and Georgia.
“It has been interesting,” Smart said. “I recruited Walter so I got to see Walter run the ball at Cairo and we just said ‘Hey, who on our team can help our team at tight end or running back?’ and I saw Walter run it. He played a lot of tailback in high school.”
His Cairo coaches would often note he rarely missed his assignments and always seemed to be in the right position to make the play. He would often align his teammates to their scheme prior to plays.
That stood out about Grant plus the fact when he got his hands on the ballcarrier he always managed to bring them down. If there was such a state, his Syrupmaker coaches said his tackle percentage would be extremely high if it was ever calculated like a batting average in baseball.
Grant was able to play in all 15 games for Georgia on a defense that now includes a pack of names either in the NFL or on their way for the 2019 season.
“We recruited him even when I was at Alabama as kind of an either-or,” Smart said. “He’s really bright. He picks things up. Catches the ball out of the backfield well. He’s big. But he’s done a good job back there.”
The other thing to note about the Walter Grant moves
Smart made it very clear that it wasn’t a sense of demotion for a player who had 21 tackles a year ago. Grant picked up “The Charley Trippi Award” at the team’s postseason gala.
He was one of three winners on that honored bestowed in Trippi’s name. That distinction goes to the players that the coaching staff determine to be the most versatile players on the team.
Grant’s work so far this spring all around the practice field for the Bulldogs is clear evidence of that. He might not need the reps that other “Wolfpack” members like newcomers Jermaine Johnson and Nolan Smith need to improve over the course of spring drills.
It has helped the Bulldogs in areas like the tight end position where two members of the 2019 class have yet to arrive. It also strengthens the depth at RB with Zamir White still on the mend and 2019 signee Kenny McIntosh set to arrive early this summer.