Photo By Steven Chapman

Jakeem Grant Grinded Out Great Offseason

After an up and down junior campaign inside receiver Jakeem Grant began the offseason at the bottom of the depth chart and worked his way back up in time to make one more run at turning all his football wishes and dreams into reality in 2015.

Despite posting numbers most receivers across the country would be envious of, Jakeem Grant's junior season was a major disappointment.

In 2014, Grant finished in the top 10 in the Big 12 in catches (67), receiving yards (938), receiving touchdowns (7) and all-purpose yards (124.1), yet it was the plays he didn't make and his inconsistency from game-to-game which stood out most.

Texas Tech offensive coordinator Eric Morris was blunt with Grant in his assessment following the season.

"We've challenged him as a staff, last year we thought he was either really explosive or he wasn't very good at all," Morris said. "He dropped some key balls, wasn't great in the run-game blocking at times."

Grant was forced to start over in the offseason and prove his commitment to the coaching staff. When confronted with the ugly truth athletes tend to go one of two ways; they either pout and fall off the map or respond to adversity, go to work and come out stronger than before.

Photo By Steven Chapman

What was Grant's response?

"He (Morris) really challenged me and made me start at the bottom of the depth chart which I respect that," Grant said. "He wants to see the best out of me, he wants to see me compete every game like I did in the Baylor game, you know? There was some games last season that I was up and had over 100 yards and then the next game it would be 'what happened to Jakeem'. 

"He taught me how to be a great player and come to practice and bust your butt every practice then you will get great results and in the game. I take my hat off to that and it's made me a great player going into my senior year."

When asked what he thought the reason was for his inconsistent play, Grant admitted he let some things off the field hinder his play on it.

"I'd say last year it was more mentally, it was mentally I wasn't there. I had ups and downs," Grant said. "But this year I have ironed out my weakness, my weakness was mental. I took it in, I worked on it, I focused on it and I got it corrected. I got it to where I leave off the field issues, you know with my family at home, with academics or anything, I leave that off the field and come in and attack every practice like it's my last."

The results have been palpable through spring, fall camp and now with the season just over a week away, according to Morris.

"I'm proud of Jakeem," Morris said. "He's responded every day. He's been vocal, he knows this is his last go-around and so it's been fun to watch his response to it."

A focused, healthy, consistently explosive Grant, who over his career has caught 165 passes for 2,021 yards, 17 touchdowns and added another 1,152 yards and two scores on kick returns,  could be a beautiful thing for the Red Raiders and a nightmare for opposing defenses. 

"My preparation is very good right now," Grant said. "I feel like we still have a little bit of wrinkles to iron out, but it's much better than it was from last year. I feel like our receiving corps, our running backs, our linemen are doing a tremendous job and I feel like our defense are more confident and more physical in how they play. I feel like just going into the season my preparation is outstanding right now, so with the team I just, I'm loving it." 

*Listen to the complete interview with Jakeem Grant below*

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