Position series feature: Grant Donovan

Cardinal Authority continues our look at each position on the University of Louisville football team with a focus on special teams. Here's a feature on long snapper Grant Donovan.

Teddy Bridgewater, DeVante Parker, Preston Brown and Terrell Floyd are just some of the names that Louisville football fans are undoubtedly familiar with.

Grant Donovan is one with which they may feel less acquainted.

The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Donovan is a redshirt junior who serves as the Cardinals' long snapper - a position that requires just as much skill as the others that form a football team, but receives none of the glory.

"Grant is probably one of the least appreciated people on our team," says running backs coach Kenny Carter, who also handles special teams. "No one ever thinks about the snap until there's a bad one, and he's very, very good at what he does."

Before becoming a Cardinal, Donovan built a reputation for himself as a snapper at Male High School, where he played under coach Bob Redman, father of former UofL quarterback Chris Redman. During his high school career, Donovan was named Male's special teams MVP each of his four years. His zero bad snaps as a junior and senior drew the attention of several DI programs.

Snapping, however, wasn't the only way that Donovan helped Male to four consecutive district championships.

As a senior tight end, Donovan was named the team's overall MVP by catching 35 passes for 561 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Despite his outstanding performance at tight end, the schools inquiring about his services at the position weren't enough to draw him away from the possibility of playing at Louisville.

"There were a lot of small schools interested, no DI schools that I would even think about," Donovan says of the schools that wanted him as a tight end. "But I've always been a Cards fan and being able to have the talent to be a DI snapper, that's what I decided to stick with."

As the snapper at Louisville, Donovan has been in a handful of high-pressure situations. None more so than against Cincinnati last year, when a game-winning field goal attempt in overtime almost ended in disaster.

Just as the team was set, an attempt to ice the kicker caused an errant snap. Fortunately, the timeout was granted and the mistake therefore negated. After receiving a second chance, Donovan delivered a perfect snap.

Learning from experiences like the situation against Cincinnati, Donovan has learned how to approach snapping from a mental aspect.

"There are situations where I'm going to have nerves just like everyone else, but I try to limit those," Donovan says, "you just have to be confident in yourself and keep pushing through everything."

Long snappers, especially those as accurate and experienced as Donovan, are needed at every level of football, so when asked about the possibility of snapping professionally, he doesn't rule it out.

"I'll graduate this spring, and then I want to get my masters in business," Donovan says. "If the opportunity presents itself. It's rare, but if I'm good enough to make it that far then I'll take it."

Future aside, Donovan has plenty to do while he's still at UofL. If all goes well for him this season, fans still won't know the name Grant Donovan. But all that will mean is that he's continued to do his job.


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