Football receiver Samajie Grant keeps humble attitude
After Arizona’s 38-13 victory over UTSA last Saturday, freshman receiver Samajie Grant returned to his locker to find 74 text messages on his phone from family, friends and long-forgotten acquaintances.
Seemingly unsure about what to make of it all, Grant chose to ignore the attention and move on.
“It’s kind of annoying. I don’t really know why people are still talking about it,” Grant said. “I think we’re past that. I don’t know why I think that. I’m just like that I guess.”
Last Saturday, the true freshman caught five passes for 48 yards and made his first touchdown. Grant’s impact came early in the game, as four of those catches were on the first drive.
Ryan Revock / The Daily Wildcat UA wide receiver Samajie Grant runs warm up drills before the UNLV game on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013.
The Compton, Calif., native said he came to Tucson with low expectations.
“I didn’t expect to [contribute right away],” Grant said, “but all the older guys helped me and [Nate Phillips] out. I thank them, because if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be in this spot.”
The attention Grant has received since the victory extends beyond his family and friends. Grant said that in the days following his breakout performance, random classmates have approached him to congratulate him.
But once again Grant stayed away from the spotlight, even telling them that he wasn’t this “Samajie Grant guy.”
At 5-foot-9 and 173 pounds, Grant can get away with being just another student in the classroom, but on the football field, he stands out.
On what was a broken play, Grant had the instinct to scramble to where he could get open and eventually find the end zone.
Having a good feel for the game and what to do when things go awry is something that is difficult for coaches to teach.
“[Grant is] a fast guy,” head coach Rich Rodriguez said. “He’s very competitive and he gives us a little burst. He’s one of the fastest guys we’ve got.”
The Arizona coaches salivate over Grant’s speed, decision-making and innate ball skills.
“More than anything, it’s his football instincts. I mean, for a true freshman he has great football instincts,” Rodriguez said. “Samajie is going to have a great career here.”
Grant is also one of Arizona’s hardest workers in the weight room and on the field, according to Rodriguez.
Grant said he has become good friends with fellow freshman receiver Nate Phillips, who is 5-foot-7, 177 pounds.
Grant was at a loss for words when he talked about working out with Phillips. Amazed by his strength, Grant said he has used Phillips as motivation to be more exceptional.
“That’s a strong dude,” Grant said. “It’s hard to keep up with him, but having him right there, I can’t just throw on some light weights.”
Their friendship, which began at the first workout in June, extends past just being gym buddies. Each makes sure the other is on time to practice and awake for class.
“Honestly, Nate makes me better,” Grant said.
Stories of Grant’s life are tattooed on his arms and torso. Where the Wildcats fit into Grant’s narrative has yet to be inked. All that Grant knows is he hasn’t made it alone, and his performance this past Saturday was nothing to text him about.
“[Saturday] makes me want to work harder,” Grant said. “I don’t want people to think that just because I scored a touchdown I can slack off. And that makes me want to work way harder, because I know that will make me a better person.”
—Follow Luke Della @LukeDella