West Linn’s Jaydon Grant preps for Las Vegas Bowl with OSU football.
For a player who spent such a brief time on the football field at West Linn, former Lion Jaydon Grant has made sure that his Oregon State career lasted as long as possible.
Grant, a 2016 West Linn graduate who’s now a 6-foot, 195-pound redshirt senior defensive back at OSU, is in his seventh season with the Beavers and preparing for his 57th and final game. That game will be, perhaps, the biggest in his lengthy OSU career — a start in the Las Vegas Bowl where the 17th-ranked Beavers (9-3 overall after finishing fifth in the Pac-12) face unranked Florida (6-6 overall after placing fifth in the SEC East) at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, at Allegiant Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN.
“It’s been a crazy journey filled with a lot of ups and downs. It took a lot to get here,” Grant said in a televised interview on KOIN 6. “To potentially win 10 games with this team, it’s just a blessing and a testament to all the hard work that our staff, our strength staff, medical staff (and) players have all put in for the last three or four years.”
“It’s been a crazy journey filled with a lot of ups and downs. It took a lot to get here.”— Jaydon Grant
His best season
Grant has made his final season in Corvallis his best, earning second-team All Pac-12 honors after amassing a career-high 60 tackles (including a career-high 34 solo stops, with four for loss and one sack), a career-high three interceptions, three quarterback hurries and six passes broken up.
“I think it’s cool,” Grant told KOIN about his All Pac-12 honor. “I think it’s just a testament to the work that we all put in collectively as a DB group. … I feel like we put it on the table all season.”
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A long journey
Getting to seven college seasons is almost unheard of, but life dealt Grant — the son of former Portland Trail Blazer Brian Grant — a variety of surprises during his long college career.
First, he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury during fall camp of his freshman year. Then, as a redshirt freshman, he played in the first three games of the season, then missed the last nine due to injury.
Grant finally got his chance to play regularly in the Pac-12 as a redshirt sophomore in 2018, appearing in 10 games, making 16 tackles with two pass deflections. Next, because of the injuries he suffered early in his college career, Grant received a “clock extension” from the NCAA, which turned him back into a redshirt sophomore in 2019. That year, he played in all 12 OSU games, making nine starts, with 40 tackles, two interceptions, 2.5 tackles for loss, one sack, a forced fumble, three pass breakups and a 36-yard TD interception against Washington.
After that, it was the COVID-19 pandemic that stepped in to extend Grant’s career as a Beaver. In 2020, OSU was limited to just seven games, with Grant starting all the way and finishing with 29 tackles, two interceptions and two pass breakups, while landing on the Wuerffel Trophy preseason watch list, and later, becoming a member of the Pac-12 Academic Honor Roll.
Along with the most of the NCAA’s other athletes, that COVID-shortened ’20 season added yet another year to Grant’s OSU career. In 2021, in his second season as a redshirt junior, he played in all 13 games, finishing with 71 tackles, two for loss, two interceptions and six pass breakups. Along the way, Grant was named to the Phil Steele All Pac-12 Third Team, the All Pac-12 Honorable Mention Team, the Wuerffel Trophy Award Watch List (for community service, academics, athletics), was a Burlsworth Trophy nominee and made eight tackles in the LA Bowl versus Utah State.
One last shot
All of that — the injuries, the pandemic, the extra seasons — led to Grant’s 2022 season, his All Pac-12 honors and his last shot at glory in the Las Vegas Bowl.
“For me, the big thing was just (getting) another year with my teammates. I tell them that all the time,” Grant told KOIN. “Just going into this whole entire off-season, (it was about) changing my mindset, having a grateful mindset. Not ‘I have to do this,’ but ‘I get to do this one more time.’”
Grant’s attitude, his success, his talent, his perseverance — none of it surprised former West Linn football coach Chris Miller.
“Jaydon came out late his senior season at (West Linn),” Miller recalled. “(He) didn’t start playing ’til week four, (but) once he became familiar with our scheme and started acclimating to playing football, he was a dude! He played tough. He became an impactful player.”
Still looking ahead
Regardless of what happens in the Las Vegas Bowl, Grant believes that his football career is far from over.
“I expect to play in the NFL,” Grant said in his interview with KOIN. “That’s obviously a huge goal of mine, so I hope to do what I did here, which was kind of have that underdog story and surprise some people and do that at the highest level.”
Regardless of whether Grant eventually earns a spot in the NFL, Miller knows what Grant’s made of and knows that it’s good.
“Jaydon wears a ‘C’ on his chest (as a team captain) which is indicative of the kind of leader he has become,” Miller added. “He’s a resilient hard-working guy who’s overcome … major injuries, but has stuck with it to the point of being voted … All Pac-12. Jaydon is a winner on the field and in life.”
See the original story on KOIN 6, “West Linn’s Jaydon Grant preparing for final game in OSU uniform,” by clicking here.