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Sept. 21, 2013

“The Mighty Ducks,” the 1992 hockey cult film classic, might not be the first movie that comes to mind as an inspirational film for a football player, but for junior cornerback Doran Grant it struck a chord with his competitive spirit.

Grant played three years of hockey at right wing for the Tri-C Cyclones in Kent, Ohio, and cites the rivalry between the United States and Iceland at the Junior Olympics in the 1994 sequel “D2: The Mighty Ducks” as his inspiration to try the sport. Grant also was inspired to play hockey after watching one of the more popular Winter Olympic events, speedskating. Grant was drawn to speedskating’s intensity and that fed his hunger for speed in the hockey rink and on the football field.

“I always wanted to try stuff growing up,” Grant said. “I watched speedskating, the Winter Olympics, the Summer Olympics and everything just interested me.”

As is typical of many school-aged children, Grant played many sports. At his elementary school on the westside of Akron, his favorite game was rugby, a sport that sparked his curiosity when he saw a friend playing during recess.

“It was kind of like football, but a little different,” Grant said. “I just really wanted to try it.”

Running, tackling and awareness of the ball were all skills Grant developed playing rugby.  Grant’s interest in a variety of activities led to a diverse and hectic athletic career. In sixth grade, he balanced the rigors of basketball, hockey and wrestling during the winter season. 

“It was crazy because a lot of people, growing up, thought it was my dad pressuring me into sports, but it wasn’t him,” Grant said. “I put the pressure on him to find me somewhere to play.”

Grant’s father, Ted Jones Sr., who was a wide receiver at Michigan State from 1980-1982, is a well-known coach in the Akron area. Grant describes his father and his mother, Tonya Grant, as “caretakers” who are always rooting for him.

A passion for sports combined with a strong work ethic has been a winning combination that resulted in an impressive offseason for Grant, as well as earning him his starting position.

In the weight room during the offseason, Grant reduced his body fat to 4.2 percent and gained eight pounds of muscle. He also was one of two players who earned the Iron Buckeye Award, presented to athletes who demonstrate “unquestionable physical training dedication, determination, discipline, toughness and leadership.”

However, Grant does not hesitate to share the credit on his improved skills.

“A lot of credit goes to the strength and conditioning coaching staff,” Grant said. “They push me hard every day and I have seen big, huge results.”

Doran already has posted a career-high in pass breakups with two and recorded four solo tackles and one assist in the season opener vs. Buffalo.

With Ohio State’s young defense, Grant is ready to continue to make his presence felt.

“It’s been a pretty good start,” Grant said. “I’m looking forward to making some more plays for the Buckeyes.”

As the grind of the Big Ten season nears, Grant will have many opportunities to indulge his competitive spirit.

By: Sammi Ragsdale, Ohio State Athletics Communications