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San Francisco 49ers' rookie linebacker Larry Grant is quite the home-body.
Selected in the 7th-round of the 2008 NFL Draft this past April, the Bay Area native who graduated from Foothill High School in 2004 and played at the collegiate level for City College of San Francisco as well as Ohio State University, is coming back to where it all started.
Born in Santa Rosa and living throughout Northern California including right here in Sacramento, Grant was raised a 49er fan. So naturally, receiving the phone call on draft day from 49ers' head coach Mike Nolan was an amazing experience.
"It was a great feeling. It was actually a feeling I've been waiting to feel all my life. Just growing up a 49ers fan and actually die-hard. Not only me, but my whole family, it was a true blessing. The feeling was great."
But when his phone actually rang, he didn't know what to expect.
"Well you know, being from California I have so many friends that live in the San Jose area that I just thought it was a regular phone call," Grant said. "I knew the 49ers were on the board, but I thought it was going to be a '415' number. So, I answered the phone like nothing was going on, and when I answered the call I was pretty excited. I was shocked."
His face flashed across the screen as the 49ers picked him with the 214th overall selection, sending himself, his family and friends into a frenzy of emotions. Never in his wildest dreams did he imagine he would be suiting up for the team he had childhood dreams of winning a Super Bowl with.
But as goes the life of an NFL athlete, once the joy and excitement wears off, it is time to get back to work. Grant will be participating in his first-ever NFL training camp begining July 24th as the team begins to prepare for its 2008 campaign. As it stands currently, the two sides are still attempting to work out a contract, but with Grant's repertoire and the 49ers' desperate need at middle and outside linebacker, Grant can certainly earn himself a spot on the 53-man roster by the end of the pre-season.
Many expect Grant to continue the niche he established in college, playing great on special teams. In his freshman and sophomore seasons at CCF, Grant collected 12 blocked punts, a Junior College record. Grant also won the JUCO National Player of The Year in 2005. In his senior season at OSU this past year, he started all 13 games while totaling 51 tackles as well as the only two blocked punts by the team. He capped off his final season with a season-high eight tackles in the National Championship loss to the LSU Tigers in January.
"I see LG (Grant) being a guy who sticks around for quite some time," said Grant's agent, Nate Haber of Players Rep Sports Management said. "He is a special teams demon. He is a student of the game, and his desire to succeed will make a name for himself for years to come."
At the moment, however, making a name for himself is on the backburner. More importantly, Grant just wants to make the team and show that he is what the 49ers are looking for.
"I'm really anxious," Grant said in regards to getting training camp under way. "We have got a lot of guys, a lot of rookies that just want to go out there and help the team in any way we can."
That is the 22-year old's individual plan, to help the team in as many different ways as possible. In high school, Grant played his freshman season at Foothill, with a two-year stint in Georgia as he lived with his brother before returning to Foothill for his senior year, playing running back and safety. All in all, the new father of a four month old son is quite the multi-faceted talent, who should definitely be a player that local fans can root for this upcoming season.
*Quotes from Grant and Haber were all taken from an interview I conducted over the weekend*