SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Nearly one month ago, Samajie Grant was pulled over for driving without a license among other offenses.
To say that this month hasn’t been easy for Grant would probably be an understatement.
“This last month has been real intense, real life changing for sure,” Grant said. “Most of all, it has probably been the best month of my life just because I know I made a mistake, but I have become a better player and a better person since that.”
Grant recalls dealing with an angry Rich Rodriguez once news reached the head coach.
“Coach Rod was real mad, that’s for sure,” Grant said. “He explained to me that he understood that I am young. I know I am young, but I understand what I did.
“When he told me that he was still going to play me, but he didn’t know for how long, I personally didn’t expect to play. I was happy that I played, but I didn’t expect to play because I knew I made a big mistake.
“I personally thought I was going to go in there and he was going to tell me I wasn’t playing in the Pac-12 title game or the bowl game, so I was happy when he told me I was going to be able to play. Now I am giving it my all for the coaches and the players.”
The fact that Rodriguez has given Grant a second chance means a lot to the sophomore wide receiver.
“It’s good just because he knows that I am honestly not a bad person,” Grant said. “I am one of the happiest guys on the team and talking to the little kids and telling them what to do right.
“I have a lot of messages after it happened from kids telling me that they hoped it wasn’t true. I told them I made a mistake and they need to make sure they never do it. It’s not a good thing at all.”
For Rodriguez, it was a mistake by a player that had not made many before.
“His attitude has always been good,” Rodriguez said. “Every once in a while a young guy makes a bad decision or makes a mistake and he pays the price for it, but I love Samajie and his attitude and the way he works.”
The game is significant for each player and coach involved, but it may be a little bigger for Grant.
“This is bigger because I wasn’t able to make an impact against Oregon, so it just honestly beats me up inside and gives me a lot of anger,” Grant said.
“I know I am going to be able to put that out on the field and hopefully be able to have a great game and my best game this season.”