‘Always will be a Beav’: Jaydon Grant on Las Vegas Bowl, post-grad future
CORVALLIS Ore. (KPTV) - It’s bowl week for the Beavers in Las Vegas on Saturday – the 14th ranked Beavs look to chomp the Gators for a shot at just the third 10-win season in Oregon State history and first bowl game in since 2013.
Jaydon Grant, sixth-year senior and captain, took the long route to success in Corvallis.
“It meant everything to me because I pride myself on being a great teammate, even when I - first game in - and I wasn’t playing much,” Grant said. “I have always been the same guy.”
Grant went from two redshirt seasons, one medical – the COVID-19 eligibility bonus – to a three-year captain in Corvallis.
“When Coach Smith came here - that was the start of my second career so to speak,” he said. “Coach Smith is the one that gave me the opportunity to earn what I can - earn what I deserve.”
The 24-year-old former three-year walk-on from West Linn earned everything to become a scholarship starter, leader and second team all-PAC-12 defensive back, about to suit up for this 57th game in the orange and black against Florida in the Las Vegas Bowl.
“Man, it’s a lot of games. I didn’t even know how many. I don’t really keep track of how many I play but the total definitely got up there.”
What makes the comeback beaver tail even wilder? Grant had surgery to drain a kidney just days prior to the rivalry with University of Oregon.
“Even being out there was a blessing to me because two weeks before, I didn’t know where I would be at that point.”
Number Three now sees a future in professional football, thanks to persistent persuasion during senior year of high school at West Linn.
“The biggest person that always told me I need to play football was Houston Lillard,” Grant said. “It was really annoying back then.”
Grant said it was often easier to focus on the people who didn’t believe in him, than the ones who did.
“Having that realization that there are so many people that do believe in me and have from the jump, so it’s not about proving them wrong but it’s about proving those people who are in my corner right and I hope to continue to do so as the next level as well.”
Grant’s father, Brain Grant, retired from the NBA in 2006, and instilled an ethic of hard work in Grant and his eight siblings.
“I walk away from my time here with three degrees, two masters, and I am just thankful that I took the hard route rather than the easy route.”
Grant said he will always be grateful to Oregon State for giving him every opportunity to create what he wanted out of his career, on and off the field.
“I made tremendous strides as a man here,” he said. “I always will be a Beav.”
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