National Rank at WR: 20
Overall State Rank: 29
Star Rating: ****
An Inside Texas conversation with LBJ High School head coach Claude Mathis on D.J. Grant:
Inside Texas: D.J. missed most of his junior year with a broken collar bone, so he really burst onto the scene his senior season, but when did you know that he was going to be such a special player at wide receiver?
Claude Mathis: It was at an Oklahoma State satellite camp, they do a lot of them across the state of Texas. D.J. was working out and I was at the camp. He was doing receiver drills. Now, he hadn't played receiver before and when he went out there, he ran this curl route, it was just a simple curl, but it was so precise, so smooth. He ran it like a veteran receiver. There are NFL receivers who don't run it that crisp. He caught the ball, made the guy covering him miss and he was off. Having never played the position he ran routes at a college and pro level.
IT: Has his route-running continued to improve since then?
Mathis: Tremendously. It's just clicked for him.
IT: So I imagine he didn't have any problem taking to the position.
Mathis: Not at all. He's a big kid, he played defensive end for us before that, but he's so fast and his hands are so good, the transition was very, very easy for him.
IT: So receiver is definitely where Texas wants him to play in college?
Mathis: Oh yes. He can play safety, he's done that for us as well, but he's definitely a receiver.
IT: What is the biggest strength he brings to the football field?
Mathis: Besides his great leadership, it's his ability to make plays. He'll catch the ball, he'll run the route, he'll block if you need him to, but he's a big time play-maker. If you need a play, he'll make it.
IT: He's a big receiver and seems more like an outside guy you can throw the ball up to. I'd ask you how good he is at catching the ball in traffic, but I saw that catch at the Under Armor (All-American) Game.
Mathis: Yeah, no doubt. He's got great timing, especially for someone who hasn't been a receiver his whole football life and is very tenacious.
IT: What does he need to improve or do to make that jump to the Division I level?
Mathis: The Terminology. He needs to study, learn Texas' system and increase his understanding of the position. Then he needs to continue to practice the way he plays and not take a single day off.
IT: You mentioned his leadership. In what ways does he show it for his team?
Mathis: D.J.'s not a loud kid, but he's got great strength of character.
IT: So you're not worried about him dealing with any off-the-field issues when he's at UT?
Mathis: No, I'm not. That comes from his family. They provide a great base for him and he's got great character because of it.
IT: Can you elaborate on that?
Mathis: His family does a great job supporting him. His grandmother has done a great job raising him and she's very involved in everything he does. The dad is big time in the picture too and he's always there for support. They really care about him and always have his best interest in mind, which is really good for him, and his father does play a great role in his life. He's got strong support from his family.
IT: Who is the D.J. Grant we don't know? We've seen his abilities on the field, but who is D.J.?
Mathis: He's very quiet. He doesn't go out, he doesn't party. He's a real interesting kid, I'll tell you that. He likes Legos.
Mathis: Yeah, Lego blocks. He really likes to build things and has a lot of interesting hobbies and he doesn't go out and party like a lot of kids. Here's something else, they had a school dance that all the kids were going to and he didn't go because he was studying for the SAT. That's what kind of a guy D.J. is.
UT Signing Day Bio: Prep All-American, all-state and all-district performer at wide receiver and defensive end ... a two-sport athlete who also competed in track and field ... participated in the 2008 Under Armour All-America High School Football Game and made a 32-yard TD catch ... rated as the fifth-best wide receiver and 16th-best overall prospect on ESPN's top 150 national list ... tabbed one of the state's Top 10 wide receivers by Dave Campbell's Texas Football ... tallied 41 catches for 1,142 yards (27.9 ypc) and 16 TDs in his final two seasons as a prepster ... named first-team 4A all-state by the Texas Sports Writers Association ... also earned first-team All-CenTex and all-district 17-4A Offensive MVP honors as a senior ... helped LBJ to a 10-3 record and a distict 17-4A championship ... tallied 31 catches for 886 yards (28.6 ypc) and 14 touchdowns ... added 70 tackles, three INTs and returned three punts for TDs ... also had 18 knockdown blocks as a wide receiver ... hauled in four catches for season-high 144 yards and two touchdowns and rushed once for 24 yards in a win over Johnston ... tied his season-high with 144 yards and two TDs on two receptions against Reagan ... recorded 10 receptions for 256 yards (25.6 ypc) and two TDs before breaking his collar bone as a junior ... named All-CenTex and all-district 25-4A as a sophomore at defensive end ... notched 101 tackles, six sacks, two forced fumbles and an INT ... also participated in track and field ... a regional qualifier in the 200 meters and the 4x100 and 4x200-meter relays ... helped LBJ to district championships in the 4x100 and 4x200-meter relays ... finished second at districts in the 200 meters ... Born 8/13/90 in Austin, Texas ... full name is Derrick J. Grant ... a member of the Community of Brothers in Revolutionary Alliance (COBRA), which is a leadership organization, focusing on strong character, excelling in the classroom and building for the future ... uncle, Shannon Crenshaw, played wide receiver at Texas A&M (1996-99).
Up Next: Mark Buchanan