Husker running back Anthony Grant is 'not a typical JUCO guy'
Nebraska running back transfer Anthony Grant is not a typical player straight out of junior college.
Grant played in every game for Florida State as a freshman in 2018 before redshirting in 2019. He then dominated at the junior college level at New Mexico Military Institute and was named the 2021 NJCAA Division I Offensive Player of the Year and an All-American after he led NMMI to a national championship.
He has extensive experience at two levels of college football which he said taught him a lot.
“Just how to be mentally strong, controlling myself and know what I need to get done and just getting it done,” Grant said.
Nebraska running backs coach Bryan Applewhite said he also sees the benefits of Grant's wide experiences.
“The fact that he had been at Florida State, he’s really not, age-wise, a typical JUCO guy, that helped him a little bit being older," Applewhite said. "He’s mature as far as he’s been through the fire already and what I mean by fire, he’s been through fall camp at a Division I school, he’s been through a season at a Division I school."
"He’s been at the top of the top," Applewhite continued. "He was at Florida State and then he goes to New Mexico Military (Institute) and so he’s seen everything in between and I think that has been a wake-up call to him as far as what he needs to do and how he needs to get it done to compete at a high level.”
Applewhite is in his first season with the Huskers after two seasons with TCU and spent the five seasons before that at Colorado State also as their running backs coach.
During his time with the Horned Frogs, Applewhite said he recruited Grant. His first project as part of Nebraska's coaching staff was to help land Grant, a four-star junior college prospect.
“He has on film what you’re looking for: he was tough, he did not shy away from contact, he had a burst to get away from people, he had a very good tendency to run behind his pads, he looked like he was explosive, he was explosive on film, you could see that,” he said.
Applewhite said he talked to Grant's coaches at Buford High School in Georgia, Florida State and NMMI and they all said he loves football. He said now it is just a matter of Grant finding his groove at Nebraska.
“He has assimilated very well to what I want as far as the culture for the running back room and the expectations and the standard I have for all of them," he said. "He’s adjusted to that very well."
Grant told reporters on Monday that his experience at FSU and NMMI has helped him adjust at Nebraska during spring practice.
“I’ve already been at that Division I level with that type of caliber of players and it really made it easy for me to come into a place like Nebraska and get adjusted to it," the 5-foot-11, 210-pound running back said.
Grant said the biggest adjustment has been learning the playbook, system and getting to know his new teammates and coaches.
One of his new teammates, cornerback Tommi Hill, who is also new to Nebraska, praised Grant during Monday's press conference.
“Every time he busts a gap, he’s gone," Hill said. "I’ve been trying to get him but that’s a dog right there.”
Just as Applewhite pointed out about Grant, Hill said the back has great vision.
“He’s got vision, speed, he’s shifty," Hill said. "I talk to him about his vision. I see him hitting a gap when it’s not even developed yet.”
Husker fans will get their first glimpse of Grant during Nebraska's Red-White spring game on Saturday. As for the fall, Grant expects to see the field in a competitive running back group.
Grant said: "I feel like I will play but I will do everything in my power to help the team."