NFL DraftProspect Interviews

2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Jovan Grant, S, Merrimack College

Jovan Grant
Jovan Grant from Merrimack College is one of the best small school safety prospects this year. He recently told his story to Draft Diamonds writer Jimmy Williams.
  • Name: Jovan Grant
  • Height: 6’1”
  • Weight: 205 lbs
  • Position: Safety
  • College: Merrimack College
  • Instagram: _visions1_

Tell us about your university/college. What is your major/minor? Did you participate in any other activities or campus organizations other than football?
I came to Merrimack because it gave me the opportunity to pursue great academics and it allowed me to play the game that I love. I graduated this year with a major in Finance and will be participating in a Masters program in Management in the fall. During my time at Merrimack I was involved in the Finance Club, and I am also on the Athletics Diversity Committee. 

What do your teammates say is your best quality?
I believe my teammates would say my work ethic and dedication are some of my strongest qualities as a football player. Growing up, I always felt that I had to prove my worth, which helped me develop my work ethic and drive in sports from a younger age. I always had an underdog mentality and that continued at Merrimack as I was not on athletic scholarship coming into the program. I wanted to work harder than everyone else to assure that I belonged to be there.

What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?
I will be a captain this year, which I am excited for the opportunity to step up and lead a group of men each week. In the past, I’ve been more of a lead by example kind of leader, but as I enter into this captain position, I am looking to step up as a vocal leader and improve my leadership qualities across all areas.

I’m very versatile. I’m labeled as a safety, but I consider myself as a defender as I feel I can play any position on the field except up front of course, or maybe with some practice haha. Also, having played cornerback up until college has also helped my coverage skills as I apply a lot of the same technique in the slot. Occasionally, I do play that hybrid linebacker/safety role. I’m expected to play a little more in the box this year. Playing in a system that predominantly plays man coverage, I am used to playing the single high in the middle of the field. I also occasionally come down to cover slot receivers. I have also started on every special teams group throughout my college career.

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?
Deonte Harris from Assumption who is currently with the Saints. He was a headache to cover. He’s small, but quick and elusive with the ball in his hands especially in the special teams aspects.

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?
One teammate that impressed me the most was a past teammate by the name of Devin O’Reilly. He was an undersized slot receiver with the heart of a lion. He was a guy I trusted to go to war with day in and day out and I took a lot from his approach during my younger years.  He wasn’t the tallest, fastest, or most athletic, but he was the hardest worker, most consistent, and was a dog on the field wherever he was needed. During my freshman year, I struggled to find my ground at Merrimack as a redshirt on the field, but it was inspirational to see him when I was a freshman because his work ethic was one that was familiar to me. He was always the first one in and the last one out.

Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.
My sophomore year of high school I thought about quitting football. Things weren’t going well in terms of playing. I was working very hard to be a starter and was expecting time on varsity, but I mostly played on special teams, and then I had a hip injury that ended the rest of my season. I really had to question whether or not I wanted to continue because my love and passion for the game was completely lost and I was disappointed that I was not seeing the field as I thought I should. With that, a lot of things at home were going on and began to struggle with my grades. My passion was dwindling. Then there was a day that the light just went on. I challenge myself to be the hardest worker and to not let anyone outwork me. I started dedicating myself to the weight room and gained more muscle mass and speed which helped me earn the starting CB position on varsity the following year, From then on, I knew that I could achieve anything if I put my mind to it and that was a powerful lesson for me in life. 

If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?
Basketball. Basketball was my first passion growing up.  I played basketball throughout high school and went to the state championship twice. I was an All-League member my senior year. I actually wanted to play basketball in college after my freshman year of high school, but after my sophomore year, I knew that I had more potential in football and decided to commit more to that sport.

What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?
My biggest achievement is being selected as a team captain. Being selected by my teammates is certainly an honor and a privilege. It is also a unique experience for me as this is my first time being put in a position to help lead a team.

Check out NFL Draft Diamonds 2021 Small School Rankings

Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.
My redshirt sophomore year we were playing at Stonehill College. We were up about 10-14 points and they were trying to make a comeback. Their running back had broken through a gap and was heading into the endzone for a touchdown. I was chasing him down and went for the strip on the one yard line right before the ball crossed the endzone. I had forced a fumble and the ball went into the endzone for a touchback. That was definitely a pivotal moment in the game, and it was definitely a huge impact play.

Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?
My favorite athlete of all time is Muhammad Ali. I’ve idolized him since I was a child for his impressive speed and versatility as a heavyweight boxer. But I was more impressed with his activism outside the ring. At that time in history, his confidence and belief in himself as a young black man was impressive. He took political stands for the advancement of his people and his legacy. I’ve always had great respect for him.

Who is your favorite music artist? What gets you pumped before a game?
Nipsey Hussle’s “Victory Lap” and “Mailbox money” are my go to albums on game day. Nipsey is a huge inspiration to me and his music drops many great gems. His music makes you think and I love me some conscious rap.  Other than that, I listen to Roddy Ricch, Meek Mill, etc. 

What is your favorite comfort food?
Favorite comfy food is fruit.

Do you have a favorite movie or actor?
My favorite actor is Denzel Washington. I feel like every movie he is in is at least an 8/10 plus he’s very talented at his craft. 

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? Any secret talents?
In my spare time, I like to read books, listen to informative podcasts, workout, and I also am into the arts which I would say is my secret talent. I recently have been diving back into different forms of art and it has been very therapeutic for me. 

Who or what motivates you the most?
Outside of my family, I would say my fear of being average motivated me. As a child I have always been a big dreamer, and a deep thinker. I always imagined myself doing big things in life whether it is the football route or through academics/ skills. As I entered into the adult world I have been working harder to make my dreams a reality in fear of not making them a reality. I am not saying anything is wrong with average, but that is not my goal in life. 

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