Grant Already Making Sweet Music In The SEC

FAYETTEVILLE -- Like most football players, Terry Grant sticks to a pregame ritual he's developed over the years.

The Alabama running back puts tape on 20 minutes before heading out to the field. He also listens to music to try to get himself in the mood to barrel over opposing defenders.

So what does the redshirt freshman, who is surprisingly the Southeastern Conference's leading rusher after two weeks, listen to? Loud rap music? Angry heavy metal music?

Grant said he prefers slow rhythm and blues music, the type that's better suited for a romantic date than a football game.

"I get in the zone," Grant said. "I get my mind right with slow music."

Judging by the first two weeks of the season, Grant should stick with his pregame soundtrack featuring R. Kelly and Ginuwine ballads.

The 5-foot-10, 185-pound tailback has proven to be a pleasant surprise for the Crimson Tide, rushing for 307 yards and five touchdowns in back-to-back wins over Western Carolina and Vanderbilt.

His average of 153.5 yards rushing per game ranks eighth nationally. It's also tops in the SEC, putting him ahead of more established running backs like Arkansas' Darren McFadden (151.0) and Felix Jones (129.0) and Ole Miss' BenJarvus Green-Ellis (152.5).

And with Alabama's passing game still stuck in neutral, Grant can expect to get more work in Saturday night's nationally televised game against the No. 16 Razorbacks (1-0) in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

"He's a smaller guy, but he's explosive and he'll run over you if he has to," Arkansas middle linebacker Weston Dacus said of Grant. "He's got a lot of speed, and we're just going to have to, as a defense, step our game up this week.

"Alabama is going to be coming after us. Grant is definitely a talented running back, and we're not going to overlook that."

It would be hard for anyone to take Grant lightly considering the way he's introduced himself to the SEC over the past two weeks.

He was named the league's freshman of the week after rushing 18 times for 134 yards and three touchdowns in Alabama's 52-6 rout of Western Carolina in the season opener.

His three touchdown runs were the most by a Crimson Tide tailback since Shaud Williams scored as many against Kentucky in 2003.

"I take what (opposing defenses) give me and then some more," Grant said, describing his running style. "I can take it outside, and I can take it up the middle."

Grant followed up his impressive first start by gaining 173 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries in last Saturday's 24-10 win at Vanderbilt.

His performance was the third-highest rushing total by a freshman in Alabama history. Not surprisingly, Grant was named the SEC's freshman of the week for the second straight week.

"I know Terry Grant was the rookie of the week, and he did a good job in the game as well and had good production," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "But a lot of that comes because of what these (offensive linemen) do up-front."

Grant's early success has come as a surprise, even for the former Mr. Football in Mississippi.

He played only 15 snaps as a true freshman last season, gaining 22 yards on two carries. But he redshirted the season after needing surgery on his right shoulder.

It was a frustrating setback for him. And Grant said he didn't find out he was going to be the Crimson Tide's starting tailback this season until Saban released the depth chart prior to the first game.

Grant has already made an impression, especially on Arkansas coach Houston Nutt.

"(He's) a good back that's very, very quick. He's strong," Nutt said. "We've got to do a great job of wrapping him up. He breaks tackles."

And listens to slow R&B music.

Terry Grant

Age: 20

Size: 5-foot-10, 185 pounds

Hometown: Lumberton, Miss.

Notable: Grant's older brother, Lester, played football at the University of Miami and was a part of the New England Patriots team that lost to the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXI. Terry Grant redshirted last season after missing the final nine games because of a right shoulder injury that required surgery. He had only two carries for 22 yards as a true freshman. After two games this season, Grant leads the Southeastern Conference in rushing touchdowns (5), rushing yards (307) and rushing yards per game (153.5).

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