January 23, 2011

Junior college defensive tackle picks Rebels over UW

Uriah Grant walked into his meeting with Houston Nutt on Sunday morning and gave the Ole Miss coach the news he's likely been waiting to hear.

"I'm a Rebel," Grant said. "I told Coach Nutt and (Ole Miss defensive line) Coach (Terry) Price that. This finishes me. I don't see a better place in the country right now than Ole Miss.

Grant chose Ole Miss over Washington following an official visit to Oxford, Miss., that was "great. It was better than great. It was perfect. I had a great time from the moment I got off the plane. It didn't surprise me, but it was better than I thought going into it. Coach set me up with a perfect guy (Ole Miss defensive end Kentrell Lockett), and we have a lot in common."

Grant said the Rebel coaching staff's reaction to his commitment was "like a parade. It was great. Coaches were jumping around. It was crazy."

Grant, a defensive tackle from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who began his career at Wake Forest before transferring to Fullerton (Calif.) Community College, said he couldn't single out one thing that made the visit to Ole Miss so special.

"It was everything," Grant said. "But the players and coaches' relationships with each other showed me this was the right place for me to be. This team is a close team. I've built a relationship in the last couple of days and we're going to be friends for a lifetime.

"All of the people in town already knew me. It felt like home."

With Ole Miss losing four defensive tackles to graduation and/or the NFL draft, the Rebels are clearly hoping to add some experienced players in the middle of their defense. Ole Miss signed junior college transfer Gilbert Pena in December.

"I'm a guy coming in with experience," Grant said. "They said if I come in and work hard, I can battle to compete. That's my bread and butter. I get up every morning at 5 in the morning to work out. No one has to tell me to go to work. That's just something I have to do. Every day, you have to get better."

Grant laughed about the highlight of his trip. He and the other official visitors spent some time at Nutt's house on Saturday. The Ole Miss coach and his family have a love for horses and have several of the animals.

"That was my first time to sit on a horse," Grant said, laughing. "I was amazed. I didn't know they were so big."

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