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Janarion Grant Shines In RU Football Spring Game


If all goes well, Janarion Grant is going to be a star in this new spread, high-temp offense.

The Rutgers football senior kick/punt returner and wide receiver was under utilized in previous years on offense, but looks to be the play maker that is a perfect match for offensive coordinator Drew Mehringer’s scheme. Much has been talked about the possibilities of Grant’s blazing speed in the offense out of the slot, in the backfield, and on plays such as jet sweeps and screens.

“You want him on the field,” wide receivers coach Jafar Williams said Friday. “Obviously he brings a different dimension to our offense because of his speed and play-making ability. Anytime you have a guy who can line up in the backfield and line up in the slot, line up anywhere on the field, it creates issues for the defense and we’re trying to make sure we’re keeping them on their toes as well. But he needs to continue to grow and continue to be dependable in everything we’re asking him to do.”

Well, 14,177 fans in attendance got to see a watered-down glimpse of how special the Floridian can be during their annual Scarlet-White spring football game which capped spring practice Saturday night at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway.

Grant’s Scarlet Team, which featured the 1s and 3s, topped the 2s and 4s of the White team, which was spotted a 17-0 lead, 33-20 before fireworks lit up the night sky. The 5-foot-10, 176-pounder caught a game-high 11 passes for 141 yards and a touchdown. His 37-yard score came off of a swing pass from quarterback Chris Laviano who is in the middle of a competition with Hayden Rettig for the starting gig. Grant got the ball quickly in space, looked up field, turned on the jets, and took it to the house. (You can see the touchdown at :57 seconds in the video above.)

Janarion Grant scoring his 37-yard TD (Andrew Mills | NJ Advance Media for

Janarion Grant scoring his 37-yard TD (Andrew Mills | NJ Advance Media for

“Grant did a nice job tonight,” head coach Chris Ash said in his post intrasquad scrimmage press conference. “[He] caught a lot of bubble screens [and] made some guys miss in the open field.

“He’s very quick. He’s elusive. He can make people miss in space. He can line up in the slot, he can motion, he can line up in the backfield. He can do a number of things offensively and we’re going to utilize his skill set.”

One of his other 11 grabs was a 49-yard deep ball from quarterback Chris Laviano, who is in a battle with Hayden Rettig for the starting job. You can see the play below, but Laviano avoided pressure, scrambled left, and threw back across the field and hit a streaking Grant for a big gain. And for good measure, and something we figure to see a lot more of come the season in a bevy of ways, Grant rushed two times for six yards.


But if you didn’t think he did enough, Grant made nine fair catches on punts, and beat out students at halftime in the 40-yard dash – in full pads.

In 2015, Grant led the team with 1,583 all-purpose yards, including 984 kick return yards and three touchdowns. Grant finished second on team with 35 receptions and 3rd on the team with 352 receiving yards.

If the Spring Game is any indication, Grant’s stats in all facets are on the uptick.

“Janarion is a beast,” Rettig said. “He’s unstoppable. He’s a beast. I love that kid.”

The other receivers that figure to get a lot of playing time had good days well. But, recruiting the position going forward is important because the top four/five receivers are seniors.

For team Scarlet, Andre Patton caught nine passes for 112 yards. In addition, Carlton Agudosi, a big 6-foot-6 receiver, plucked three balls out of the air, including a long 55-yard touchdown bomb from Rettig. Vance Mathews made three catches for 28 yards for the White Team.
All the pass catchers on the roster are looking to replace Leonte Carroo, the former Scarlet Knight star who’s name will be called next week in the NFL Draft after totaling 112 receptions for 2,373 yards (19.5 yards per catch) and 29 scores.

While Laviano was unavailable to the media, Rettig gave his assessment on the differences between the receivers, but says they are all doing good things.

“It’s different with every throw,” he said. “With a guy like Carlton, you’re probably going to want to lay it up a little bit. If he’s in the end zone, maybe a fade ball that you want to throw up a little higher, because he has reach.

“Patton’s just a dog. Agudosi’s a dog. And I love Janarion Grant. Vance Mathews, he’s unbelievable. We’ve been pretty happy with the wide receiving corps we’ve got.”

You can follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisWasky

The Scarlet White game will re-air on the below dates and times on BTN:

Sunday, April 24 at 7 a.m.

Monday, April 25 at 7:30 a.m.

Wednesday, April 27 at 7 a.m.

Thursday, April 28 at 10 a.m.

Thursday, April 28 at 4 p.m.

Saturday, April 30 at 9 p.m.

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