A year ago, then-sophomore LB Curtis Grant was supposed to be the focal point of an Ohio State linebacker corps that was a major concern when Urban Meyer came to Columbus.
Fast-forward to the spring of 2013, and Grant is fighting for his job and possibly a spot in the linebacker rotation after falling out of his starting job just one month into the 2012 season.
The former 5-star recruit completely fell off the radar four weeks into the season after not making any impact as the starter at middle linebacker.
This year, things won't get any easier. He not only has to overcome the new stigma thrust upon him since September of a 5-star recruit who has not lived up to his billing, but to hold off a very talented group of linebackers all fighting for playing time.
But as he told The-Ozone.net, he's using the struggles of last year as a teaching tool for himself to focus more on football and living up to his potential. He spoke with Brandon Castel and said he got overly complacent when he was given the starting job last spring; it made him work less.
The important thing to remember about a young player is that they all mature differently. The light comes on at different times.
Thus, it's not surprising if a player becomes a little more relaxed if he's given a job, especially if he's the only player in the group who has any on-field experience. That was Grant last year.
The difference is that there are a handful of young players, like Josh Perry and Camren Williams, who have now seen time on the field in special teams or base defenses that can push Grant out of the job. Whether or not he wins the job after the spring remains to be seen, largely because of how much momentum the upcoming sophomores have going for them.
For Grant, this may be his last shot to prove that he is not another 5-star bust.
That will come with him not only winning the starting middle linebacker job, but excelling in it and keeping it for the whole season.
It's a lot of pressure, but that's what comes with being a star recruit.
It's now or never for Grant this spring. And he knows it well.
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