Arizona football: Freshman WR Grant unfazed by his success

2013-09-18T00:00:00Z 2013-09-18T15:23:11Z Arizona football: Freshman WR Grant unfazed by his successBy Daniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Samajie Grant’s thinking is certainly logical, but not exactly something you would expect from a freshman.

The wide receiver scored his first career touchdown Saturday against UTSA. When he went back to the locker room after the game, he had 74 new text messages waiting for him.

Every one of those 74 people was probably happier than Grant was himself.

“That’s my job,” Grant said. “My job is to help out the team. I wasn’t all that happy with myself, but I was happy we put points on the board. That’s for sure.”

Again, sound thinking for a guy on a roster of more than 100 players, but c’mon on, your first career touchdown in front of more than 40,000 fans in just your third career game? Let’s just say the Compton, Calif., native is still adapting to being in the spotlight.

“There were some kids from my middle school that texted me and I was like ‘How did you get my number?’ ” the receiver said. “People were Instagramming me, Twittering me, I was like, ‘Oh my goodness.”

So Grant does better blending in.

Either way, UA coach Rich Rodriguez likes what he has in his true freshman.

Grant had five catches for 48 yards and the touchdown in the 38-13 win over UTSA. His totals mark the most catches and yards an Arizona receiver has had in a game this season. Four of those catches came on the team’s first drive of the game against the Roadrunners.

“He’s a competitive guy and he’s learned what we’re doing at really three different receiver positions, which is hard to do as a freshman,” Rodriguez said. “He’s got quick feet. He’s got good speed, good hands. We’re putting a lot on his plate, having him move around different positions.”

Grant is showing he can handle it.

The freshman admits when he arrived on campus on June 2, he wasn’t expecting to contribute this quickly. But now that he is, he’s going to run with it.

He’s started the past two games after entering in the second quarter against NAU. He didn’t have any catches against the Lumberjacks and had just one for 12 yards against UNLV before his mini-breakout game against UTSA.

And with his knack for wanting to just be one of the guys, he sincerely credited his early success to his fellow wide receivers. When he got to Tucson for summer workouts, Grant said the veteran wideouts made sure they worked with him and fellow freshman Nate Phillips.

“They were helping us run our routes better and teaching us new moves,” Grant said. “So I thank them because if it wasn’t for them, I probably wouldn’t be in this spot that I am in right now.”

QB scroggins disciplined

Rodriguez said the decision to not dress third-string quarterback Jesse Scroggins for the UTSA game was a coach’s decision and was related to a discipline issue.

“He’s working hard, trying to get back into it,” Rodriguez said. “He has to do all the right things and he understands that.”

The USC and El Camino Community College transfer came to Tucson with all kinds of expectations. When he signed with USC out of high school in 2010, he was ranked as the sixth best quarterback in the country by the Scout.com recruiting service and was rated as a four-star prospect.

After Matt Barkley won the job, Scroggins left USC and spent a season at El Camino.

When he committed to Rodriguez and the UA last December, it seemed reasonable to assume he would at least compete for the starting job with B.J. Denker — if not have a pretty good chance to win it.

Instead, Scroggins missed the majority of spring drills recovering from offseason foot surgery and was sidelined at the start of fall camp with a concussion.

The result was falling behind not only Denker but also redshirt freshman Javelle Allen on the depth chart.

“I knew he would be behind because he missed so many reps in the spring and then he missed a lot of reps in the beginning of camp, too, with the concussion, so that put him farther behind,” Rodriguez said. “And when you get behind, the train isn’t slowing down. We’re going to keep going.”

Ebbele, Grandon held back

Offensive tackle Fabbians Ebbele and free safety Jourdon Grandon, both juniors, were limited participants in practice on Tuesday after exiting Saturday’s game with injuries.

Ebbele suffered a left leg injury and didn’t play in the second half. Rodriguez said he’s hoping it “won’t be a long-term thing,” with the tackle who hasn’t missed a start in 28 career games.

Grandon exited in the second half after picking off UTSA quarterback Eric Soza and forcing a fumble. He suffered an apparent head injury.

Rodriguez said he had to check what Grandon did in practice on Tuesday but was hopeful he’d be cleared for full participation by the end of the week.

Other than those two starters, the UA has gotten through the first three games of the season relatively healthy. The coach is still optimistic that wide receiver David Richards (foot) and defensive tackle Dan Pettinato (knee) can return in the next game or two.

Contact reporter Daniel Berk at dberk@azstarnet.com or 573-4330.

On Twitter @DSBerk

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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