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Matt Piper and Kyle Goon
Matt Piper and Kyle Goon cover University of Utah sports teams for The Salt Lake Tribune. Matt Piper is on twitter at @matthew_piper, Kyle Goon is on twitter at @kylegoon

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2015 Arizona offensive lineman commits to Utes

On the University of Utah’s campus this past week during his high school’s spring break, 2015 offensive lineman Jake Grant knew this was a place he could spend four or five years.

"It’s a feeling," Grant, from Scottsdale, Ariz., told The Tribune by telephone Sunday afternoon. "You see it, but you feel it as well."

Former Ute offensive line coach Dan Finn attended one of Horizon High’s games when Grant was only a sophomore, and Ute coaches offered him a scholarship at Utah’s elite camp last June. He’s been itching to commit ever since, says Horizon head coach Kris Heavner.

This week’s unofficial visit sealed the deal.

Grant tweeted out that he had committed around 11 a.m. Sunday.

The Arizona Republic named Grant, a 6-foot-4, 270-pound tackle, to its all-state first team in 2013. He is rated a 3-star prospect by both Rivals.com and Scout.com.

Grant said he ate lunch Saturday at the Spence and Cleone Eccles Football Center with fellow Arizonan J.J. Dielman, a sophomore tackle, and Dielman told him to expect Ute coaches to be "straight up" about the need to improve or gain or lose weight. That’s what he’s looking for, he said.

He also met for 45 minutes with offensive coordinator Dave Christensen and sat in on a film session with Finn’s replacement as offensive line coach, Jim Harding.

"He’s a teacher," Grant said of Harding. "If you’re doing something wrong technique-wise, he’ll correct it."

Heavner describes Grant as "a high-character kid."

"The first day I walked in, he’s ‘Yes, sir,’ ‘No, sir.’ He looks you in the eye and has a lot of integrity in what he does," he said. "Utah’s going to get a kid that won’t have any off-the-field problems."

On the field, Grant is more than just a big body, Heavner said: He’s a technician. His determination to improve and coaching from former University of Washington lineman Clay Walker will ease his transition to Division I, Heavner said.

"At that level, everybody’s big, everybody’s strong, but he knows how to take advantage of that ability."

Grant said he’s hopeful that he can redshirt and benefit from a full five years of development, but if Utah needed him to play as a freshman, "I’ll be ready to go and I’d be ecstatic."

Other colleges that Grant says have expressed interest include Oregon, USC, Michigan State, Nebraksa and Arizona State — his hometown team. Grant said he’ll be respectful if other coaches want to talk, but that he considers himself "100 percent" committed to the Utes. A good student (according to Walker, who is also his history teacher), Grant isn’t sure yet what he’ll major in but said he was impressed by the U.’s business school.

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— Matthew Piper

mpiper@sltrib.com

Twitter: @matthew_piper



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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