The recently returned Jay Cutler will have plenty of receiver options to throw to this upcoming season. But will Texas Tech standout Jakeem Grant be one of the intended targets?
After finishing with 90 catches for 1268 yards in his final year with the Red Raiders, Grant was drafted in the sixth round by Miami, but struggled to find a place in offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen’s system. Over the offseason, he’s made a commitment to secure the ball, even nabbing two touchdowns in a recent practice that showcased his potential as a possible #4 on the depth chart; mainstays Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker will still have precedence to the field.
What Grant lacks in size — a diminutive 5-7, 169 lbs. — he makes up for in speed, posting an unofficial 4.20 running the 40-yard dash at Tech’s Pro Day last year. During training camp, Grant translated his skill set into handling all of his punt returns and took each snap on the outside, proving that the coaches have confidence in his abilities at going one-on-one with the opposition. Last Tuesday marked Cutler’s first practice in a Miami uniform — his first different color scheme from Chicago since he donned the Denver orange and blue back in 2008. Grant was able to handle Cutler’s deep passes during one-on-one drills; backup Brandon Doughty kept him busy with deep touchdowns during 11-on-11s.
“I think he just feels comfortable. He understands what he’s supposed to do. He doesn’t have to worry about all these different options you have inside. That’s why the slot is a lot harder than a lot of people realize. You’re working off the DB a lot and trying to figure out leverages and what you’re supposed to do to be on the same page as the quarterback. I think putting him out there on the outside lets him use his strength – his quickness off the ball, his vertical speed. When he makes a cut, he creates separation. If you get the ball in his hands and there’s open space, it’s a dangerous situation for the defense. I just see a guy that’s very focused. He wants to do right. He’s really been good in the meetings. He’s trying to be one of those guys that does things as perfect as he can. It’s been good so far.”
Grant was a graduate of Mesquite Horn, where he was a 3-star recruit. After a brief commitment to Tulsa, Grant switched to Texas Tech, where he decimated Crabtree’s 3,127 yard mark by peaking at 3,289 yards in four years — a school record.
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