Gant Giving It One More Shot

A two-star safety prospect out of high school, Aaron Gant was viewed as a big pickup for Ohio State's class of 2006. Although he earned one start as a true freshman, Gant's career has been sidelined by injuries almost ever since. Find out why he's coming back for one more season and get the latest on his health in this update.

It has not been the career Aaron Gant had planned, but the senior safety is planning on giving it one final shot.

Now 21 years old, Gant is dealing with arthritis in his knee after having undergone two surgeries within the past year. The latest came during the week prior to Ohio State's home contest with USC last year and cast doubt on whether or not the former two-star prospect would play again.

"This is my last year," he said Sunday at a team-sponsored charity event. "I'll give it my all. If my knee doesn't cooperate and I can't go then I think I'll hang it up. If I can't go, then I know I tried."

Last season, Gant entered the season listed as the backup free safety behind senior Anderson Russell. He did not play a game and wound up taking a medical redshirt.

The latest surgery was to clean up some loose cartilage that was building up in the knee as a result of a surgery the previous season to repair a torn meniscus. He was then out of commission until the team began bowl preparations for Oregon.

"I have arthritis in it now so it's been rehab, rehab, rehab just to keep it strong," Gant said. "It's feeling good now. I'm able to run and move and do what I want."

The pain in the knee is something that affects him during his daily life.

"With arthritis, you always feel it," he said. "You feel it when you bend and do stuff like that. It's something you have to get used to, but I don't know if you really could get used to it. It's something that affects you daily."

Prior to his OSU career, Gant said the only significant injury he had ever experienced was a broken collarbone when he was younger. Prior to the surgery, Gant said the knee made it difficult to perform simple football tasks such as running and cutting.

Now it still bothers him due to the arthritis, but the pain is more manageable. Asked if he felt too young to have arthritis, Gant agreed, saying, "I say that because I'm only 21. They say it comes with the territory. Playing sports, you do a lot of running and there are a lot of demands on our bodies and our joints. It comes with the territory."

Gant broke into the lineup as a true freshman during the 2006 season, seeing action in the final eight games of the season and recording 10 tackles. In the process, he became one of two freshmen on the two-deep that season and started one game.

The following year, he was slowed by a foot injury and primarily made his impact on special teams. His number of minutes played dipped from 22 to 19. Again primarily on special teams, Gant saw 30 minutes of action as a junior and recorded seven tackles.

Russell and team captain Kurt Coleman exhausted their eligibility after last season, leaving two starting positions open for this season. Gant's eye is on helping to make sure the best players earn those spots whether that includes him or not.

"I want to make sure Jermale (Hines) and Orhian Johnson and all the other safeties compete with each other so we all can be the best," he said. "The best person will get the position. My goal is to play safety, to take one of the safety spots and help out any way I can whether it be on special teams or at a safety spot."

The first step will be getting through spring practice, which begins April 1.

"Going into the spring I'll be full-go, 100 percent running around and competing for a position in the secondary," he said. "I've relied on my faith and knowing that I'm recovering and I'm going to come back and be able to fight it. This last year gives me an opportunity to play and I'm grateful for that."

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