WR Kelvin Grant
Grant caught 59 passes for 1,184 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior at Camden High. He was all-state, all-region, and all-area as a junior and senior. After redshirting his freshman year in 2002, Grant caught 12 balls in 2003. Last year, he almost doubled that production with 23 catches for 274 yards.
Grant has always been considered one of the most talented athletes on the team, but he has never quite reached his potential. Just last season he showed flashes of brilliance - catching the game-tying two-point conversion against Wake Forest, but he also struggled mightily at times - dropping key passes against Miami and Duke in consecutive weeks.
Kelvin Grant was demoted to the second team and was replaced on the first team by freshman Aaron Kelly for the Orange and White game earlier this year. Why? Because he was a few minutes late to his 10:10 a.m. philosophy class the previous Friday. "I'm getting a short fuse (with him)," Tommy Bowden said afterwards. "If we had to start, Aaron Kelly would probably start instead of Kelvin Grant. Kelvin was making great strides academically, but in typical fashion he has kind of gotten off the beaten path again."
Bowden later added, "He's not in danger academically, he's in danger with me," he said. "I'm stopping where I'm at. It's best to sleep on it. I've got to speak at church in the morning. Once I sleep on it and speak at church I'll have something different to say."
Despite not starting the spring game, Grant turned in the second best receiving day ever for the event, catching eight passes for over 140 yards and two touchdowns. Grant later said, "I brought it on myself. I should have set my alarm 10 minutes earlier and gotten up and went to class. I made it to class. In fact I had a debate with the dude. But he said I was five minutes last to class. I'm always shooting myself in the foot. I can't blame the coaches."
While Bowden has likely grown more gray hairs because of Grant's different antics in recent years, the news on Kelvin is not all bad. In fact, before his only off-the-field mistake in recent memory before the spring game, wide receivers coach Dabo Swinney remained very positive about his progress. "Kelvin has been a real pleasant surprise based on what he has done this whole semester," said Swinney. "He is picking up the new offense pretty good. He isn't making a lot of mistakes, but it all goes hand in hand with the things he is doing on and off the field. He is doing a lot of right things off the field, and he is doing real well academically. His whole attitude has changed. It has transferred over to our meeting rooms and what is going on, on the practice field. Again, he is the guy if we can get him to play at the level he is capable of, he makes us a great unit."
Grant, along with every other Clemson wide receiver, will have to adjust to a completely new offense this season. With that new offense comes new responsibilities...including routes that will change based on what is shown by the defense. As Curtis Baham put it, "As far as the offense goes, the handcuffs are off," said the senior wide out. "They're letting us read the defense. There are a lot of option routes. We get to go either way depending on the kind of coverage we get. Last year, we were more fixed into our routes. Well, this year we get to see the defense and the defense determines our route."
When will the light truly go on for Kelvin Grant? Nobody really knows. At times, it is easy to see that he has as much talent as any wide receiver in the ACC. On other occasions, he seemingly disappears when his team needs him most. And now, the playmakers that were grabbing headlines ahead of him in previous years - Derrick Hamilton, Kevin Youngblood, and Airese Currie - are all gone. Simply put, this is Kelvin Grant's year to step up and become one of the go-to receivers on this football team. If not now, when?