Freshman Gant Is A Future Star

It's very rare to see a freshman starting for a state champion, but Sylvania (Ohio) Southview defeated Cincinnati Anderson for the Division II state title with freshman Allen Gant playing a starring role. Gant hauled in a 38-yard touchdown pass on the last play of the first half, and also starred from his safety spot. Bill Greene spoke to Gant following the victory.

Sylvania (Ohio) Southview freshman Allen Gant played a major role in leading the Cougars to the Division II state title, with a 29-25 win over Cincinnati Anderson on Nov. 28 in Massillon.

It is highly unusual to see a freshman starting for a state championship team, but Gant is no ordinary freshman. He not only played extremely well from safety spot, but he also hauled in a 38-yard touchdown pass on the last play of the first half, giving Southview the lead 16-13. The pass was tipped twice in the end zone before being snagged by Gant, who showed excellent concentration in making the catch.

"This game was amazing, and I don't know what to say," Gant told immediately after the win. "This is what I wanted since I came to Southview. This is so great for our seniors, and I'm so happy for them. They are such great leaders, and I've learned so much by being around these guys. The seniors deserved this championship."

Gant, 6-0 and 195 pounds, certainly doesn't play like a freshman. In fact, his physical play and intelligence on the field is stunning for a player so young. His catch before the end of the first half completely turned momentum in Southview's favor.

"I think the catch at the end of the half really fired our team up going into halftime," he said. "I kind of saw the play developing, and I wasn't the primary receiver. I just tried to be the deepest receiver, thinking the ball might get tipped backwards, and when it did I just concentrated on making the catch and staying in bounds. It probably was a lucky play, but I'll take it."

Gant's father, Tony, played college football for Michigan, and he is also related to former Wolverine great Charles Woodson, so it has to be assumed the Wolverines have the early lead in recruiting this 2012 star. That might not be the case, however.

"My father did play college football for Michigan, and Charles Woodson is my uncle through marriage," Gant said. "It might sound surprising to people, but I'm actually a Buckeye fan, and I root for Ohio State. I've been a Buckeye ever since I was young, really. My uncle, Shawn Simms, coached at Ohio State under John Cooper, and he played at Bowling Green. I wear all Buckeye gear, and that's my team."

Although only a high school freshman, Gant admits he does have a slight interest in college recruiting, but is more concerned about improving as a player.

"I think about recruiting a little bit, but I know it's very early for me," he said. "I still have three years of high school left, and I have a lot to do to get better as a player. I need to work on my quickness, and I need work on getting off blocks. Next year I'd like to play quarterback and safety. I played quarterback in junior high, and I love the position. I want to play both ways, and never leave the field."

Gant is also a fine basketball player, and runs track, with a reported 10.9 100-meter time to his credit. He said his main focus is on academics, and he is quite successful in the classroom.

"My grades have always been fine, and I take my schoolwork very seriously," Gant said. "I know how important education is, because I know sports won't last forever."

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