WR / RUTGERS
Janarion Grant is one of the more dangerous players in the Big Ten; that is, when he is on the field.
The Rutgers receiver/runner/returner — who has tied a major-college record with eight returns for touchdowns (five kickoffs, three punts) — is expected to be on the field again Saturday night when the Scarlet Knights play Ohio State.
He sat out last week’s trip to Nebraska because of an unspecified injury, but there’s no doubt what he will mean to Rutgers if he plays.
“Him being involved with our football team and being there Saturday is a big boost in a lot of areas,” Rutgers coach Chris Ash said.
Ash has ample proof. Though in his first year as coach in 2016 the Scarlet Knights had myriad challenges on both sides of the ball, the 5-foot-10, 178-pound Grant still gave them a legitimate threat to shake things up at any moment. That is, until he suffered a season-ending ankle injury in the fourth game of the season, the injury coming at the end of a 76-yard run.
The 23-year-old has been on the mend since, and he was granted a medical hardship waiver by the NCAA to play another season. He went into the year with no thought of wasting it, either.
“I’m willing to do anything for our team,” Grant told ESPN.com in the spring. “I’ll put my body on the line for each and every one of those guys just to be able for us to have a successful season.”
So far, though, he has limped off during a win over Morgan State two weeks ago and sat out last week. Yet at midweek, Ash said he expected Grant to play against the Buckeyes.
“He means a lot to our football team, not just our offense,” Ash said. “He does some great things on special teams as a returner. … Offensively, he is definitely a go-to guy that we need to find ways to get the ball in his hands and give him a chance to make plays for us and move the sticks.”
Got a question about anything related to sports and the Scarlet & Gray? The Dispatch’s team of Ohio State beat writers, columnists and editors are ready to provide answers. Send in a question.