Ishmeal Grant, a 6-3, 170-pound prospect from Blountstown High, Fla., is expected to take an official visit to the Plains this weekend. His high school coach, Bobby Johns, says that Grant has been key player for his team.
"As a junior he had 18 receptions for 638 yards," Johns explains. "That was a 35-yard per catch average. He had six kickoff returns for touchdowns and he had two punt returns for touchdowns. He also had one rushing touchdown.
"This season he had 24 catches for 626 yards and 11 touchdowns," he continues. "That was a 26-yard per catch average. He had one rushing touchdown again and he had five kickoff returns for touchdowns and two punt returns for touchdowns."
The Blountstown coach, whose team reached the class A state championship game in 2004, adds that Grant's statistics are even more impressive when put into the proper context.
"He is kind of an all-around athlete for us," Johns says. "He is a great kickoff and punt return guy for us, but nobody would kick to him this year after he had a great year last year. He only actually touched the ball 10 times this year and he returned five of them for touchdowns.
"Also, we are not a big passing team. I had a 1,600-yard rusher and a 1,000-yard rusher this year. I think we only attempted 116 passes in 15 games so we just don't throw it a lot. But, out of 1,154 yards passing he had 600 and something of it."
The coach also notes that Grant was never unhappy with his situation even though he did not see a whole lot of action on the field. "He is a guy that everybody double-covered all year long," Johns explains. "The only times he did draw single coverage we were able to really hurt people.
"People could not single-cover him. They had to double-cover him and that opened up our running game. He was very unselfish. He didn't get upset because he wasn't touching the ball more. He knew the best thing for our football team was for him to make opportunistic plays and catch the ball when we could get single coverage."
Grant says that he is eager to check out what Auburn has to offer on his official visit. "What I know about Auburn is that they are a great football team and I am very excited about coming down," he notes. "I got the chance to watch them play on ESPN a lot. They are great and I am looking forward to coming on down there. The way they throw the ball, yes I would be very excited to come down there and have the ball thrown to me."
The four-year starter, who says that he has speed in the 4.4 range, explains that he has already had a chance to meet one of Auburn's coaches. "Coach Greg Knox (Auburn receivers coach) came to one of my basketball games a while back and he came here and talked to my family and everything and we got a long just great," Grant says. "He is a nice person, fun to be around."
Grant is a lesser known prospect despite his strong stats on the field and he says that has been compounded by his inability to get to many camps or take many visits to colleges. "The only camp I was able to make it to was Florida's Camp," Grant explains. "Also, I just took two visits because we were in the state championship game, USF and Troy. Auburn and Southern Miss have been here for in-home visits."
The talented prospect, who says that he currently holds offers from Southern Miss, South Florida and Troy, explains that he feels like he has improved his game a good bit over the past two years. "I am more dedicated," he says. "I make smarter decisions on the field and I just go out there and have fun. When they need someone to go to, I am that go to guy."
Along with Grant being excited about taking his visit to Auburn over the weekend, his coach says that he has been pleased with the way the Tigers have handled the recruiting process.
"Auburn is the best program that has come through here with the way they are recruiting him," Johns says. "They stuck with him from the very beginning and they have just done a really good job with him. I have been impressed with it. Coach (Steve) Ensminger (Grant's recruiting coach) has really done an outstanding job."