Name: Kenneth Grant
Weight: 339 lbs.
High school: Merrillville (IN) Merrillville
Position: Defensive tackle
Jersey number: #78
Last year: I ranked Grant #87 and said he would redshirt (LINK). He made 8 tackles.
TTB Rating: 85
Instead of redshirting – as your author predicted – Grant played in all fourteen games last year. I thought he would take at least one year to get in shape, but the coaching staff decided to try to play him into shape, even though he was playing at nearly 360 pounds. Things went okay. Freshman defensive tackles rarely turn into immediate stars . . .
. . . unless his name is Mason Graham.
But I digress.
Anyway, Grant didn’t even have much of a chance to make a huge impact, because first round draft pick Mazi Smith was starting at nose tackle. That didn’t stop Jim Harbaugh from referring to Grant as “a gift from the football gods.”
So here we are in 2023, and it’s time for Michigan fans to open our present. A second-year player who was #87 last year jumping all the way to #18 might seem a bit odd – especially when he might be a backup to Mason Graham – but I think the nose tackle position could be a huge factor. When Smith was still around, Michigan had a 360 lb. nose tackle as the third guy and a former starter at UCF as the fourth guy. Now it’s Graham, Grant, Cam Goode, and then freshmen. I’m not so sure that Goode can hold up in the Big Ten, so if Graham and/or Grant were to go down, I think Michigan might struggle against the good running teams on the schedule, such as Penn State and perhaps an unnamed SEC team that could be a College Football Playoff opponent if Michigan is lucky enough to get that far. Michigan needs to be healthy up front if they have championship aspirations, and Grant could be a big part of reaching that goal.
Prediction: Backup nose tackle
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