Grandon enjoying the ride

Jourdon Grandon has come a long way since his freshman year.

When Rich Rodriguez and company first came to Arizona, Jourdon Grandon knew that he was going to be working with a coaching staff that he had to listen to and respect.

"Ultimately they are the ones that have been to Fiesta Bowls and BCS Bowls, so we have to just go out and follow their lead," Grandon said. "We know they have been on a big stage and know how to get there, so as seniors we knew we had to buy in and go with it, or we’re just going to have a 4-8 year.

"That’s the last thing we wanted to do, so we just made sure we listened and had all the young guys follow our lead."

Years later, Grandon is part of one of the most successful teams in school history.

"It’s great to be part of that team that gets you over that hump and gets that ten win season and brings you back," he said. "It is real important to the seniors with as much as we have been through, especially the defensive backs, we have had about five different position coaches, so just to be able to get through it all and set it in stone and be able to get the program going is a great feeling."

Arizona's success does not come as a surprise to Grandon, especially when the Wildcats got off to a fast start this season.

"We had all intentions of going to the Rose Bowl," Grandon said. "When we started out 5-0, we started to think that we really had a shot at this.

"I think that is what gave us hope throughout the season, just seeing the wins start to stack up. We knew that if we kept playing how we were capable of playing, we would end up somewhere good."

As it turns out, Arizona wound up going to a bowl that Grandon recalls watching while growing up.

"That is probably one of the best bowls," he said. "I have always grown up watching and traffic would be busy and I knew there was a game.

"Now people are coming to watch for us, so it is cool to be playing basically in my back yard and have all my family and friends watching me for one last time."

Considering where the defense was in Rodriguez's first year, Grandon knows it is remarkable to be ending his Arizona career like this.

"We were 191st in the nation," he said. "It has been one fun ride just to see where we have came from. We were terrible two years ago, giving up 400 or 500 yards of offense.

"Everybody started to mature and we knew we were going to have growing pains. We just had to get experience under our belts and once that happened we started to turn it on and come together as a defense.

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