VAUGHT: "Big" safety Grinter not too big

Maurice Grinter is a big safety, but he's not quite as big as coach Rich Brooks made it sound earlier this week.

"I don't weigh 253. I weigh 240. I weighed in on the scale with all my clothes and shoes on. That's just what they write down. I can play safety. I have the athletic ability to do it. I feel good back there," Grinter, who weighed 220 in high school, said.

Grinter's journey to UK's secondary from Louisville Fairdale High School has been intriguing. He originally signed with hometown Louisville instead of Kentucky. However, by the time he was given approval by the NCAA clearinghouse that he was eligible to play in 2005, Louisville had started practice and would not let him join the team.

"I felt they were not being truthful with me," Grinter said. "I thought they were just telling me stuff to get me to stay. I was sitting at home talking with my father about the situation and he told me to call coach (Rich) Brooks. I did and then I just had to wait to get here.

"Kentucky was always No. 2 with me. I just made an early decision. I was young and didn't really stick the process out like I should have. But I'm happy now."

Grinter spent the fall lifting weights, playing basketball and thinking about his future. He watched a "little bit" of football. "But I kept wishing I was out there and it was depressing to just watch and not be able to play," he said.

Once he enrolled at Kentucky in January, he expected to be in the offensive backfield. However, when he realized he likely would be used at fullback, he eventually decided to make the move to safety. He asked sophomore safety Marcus McClinton to mention the idea to secondary coach Steve Brown. Once McClinton did, Grinter got approval Monday to make the move.

"I played safety in high school and feel comfortable there," Grinter said. "I felt like they were going to stick me at fullback and that's not my natural position. Everybody is looking at my size and thinking I am a fullback. But I am a tailback. If I couldn't play tailback, then I want to play safety. Safety is not that hard to play. It's just picking up everything. It won't be that hard now that I have time to study.

"It's all going to work out. I think I can get a lot of playing time in the secondary. My conditioning level is higher than what it usually us. I am moving a lot better and I'm more flexible than I've ever been. It's just the right move for me and the team."


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