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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Straight Outta Compton: Samajie Grant’s transition from Compton to top receiver target

Samajie+Grant%2C+the+University+of+Arizona+wide+receiver+wearing+number+10%2C+goes+for+a+catch+during+a+game+against+Nevada+on+Friday%2C+August+12%2C+2014.+Grant+grew+up+in+Compton%2C+Calif.+before+coming+to+the+UA.
Tyler Baker
Samajie Grant, the University of Arizona wide receiver wearing number 10, goes for a catch during a game against Nevada on Friday, August 12, 2014. Grant grew up in Compton, Calif. before coming to the UA.

The first two weeks of preseason camp for Arizona football are already in the books, yet there are still question marks surrounding the team. Arizona football head coach Rich Rodriguez is only entering his fourth season at the helm of the Wildcats. The last of the Mike Stoops bunch moved on and Rich Rod’s roster finally contains veteran players as well as underclassmen. 

Just like any team battling in training camp, the leadership role is won and lost in preparation for another successful season. For Arizona senior wide receiver Samajie Grant, it’s a chance to showcase his improved game on the field, as well as off.

“It’s really important to me because we got a lot of young guys who are still trying to learn the plays, and me being out there doing the right thing is a big impact on them,” Grant said. “If I mess up, they’re right behind me, so it messes everything else up.” 

Grant was put in the doghouse after the 2014 regular season when he ended up in the crosshairs of legal trouble.

Grant was cited for suspicion of driving under the influence just hours after Arizona won the Territorial Cup by defeating ASU 42-35 to clinch their first Pac-12 South title.

After a two-touchdown performance against the Sun Devils, the receiver did not start in the Pac-12 Conference Championship game against Oregon. Grant’s absence showed, as the Wildcats had just 20 yards in the first half with Anu Solomon and Nick Wilson injured. Grant not being available as a playmaker was apparent in the Pac-12 Championship, but it wasn’t just the DUI incident that raised eyebrows across the nation. 

Growing up in Compton, Calif., is not easy, as revealed in the newly released film “Straight Outta Compton,” which highlights the rise of the popular rap group N.W.A., from the streets of Compton to eating dinner in the White House. It turns out that Grant has family members in the movie. 

“The guy who walked on the bus, Menace, that’s my uncle,” Grant said. 

Just like N.W.A., Grant has gone from rags to riches. Being in the heart of a city flooded with gangs poses a number of challenges, especially involving gun violence and the use of drugs. Grant took the yellow brick road out of Compton and used a tough mentality to make a name for himself amongst the best in the Pac-12. 

Still, unless the Wildcats win a national championship, Grant will not be eating with President Barack Obama the same way Eazy-E did. Even so, Grant looks to rise to stardom. 

“The atmosphere is very different and everyone is focused this season,” Grant said.

Grant’s leadership role will be a key factor this year. He will be taking the reigns of the receiving corps with David Richards, Trey Griffey and Nate Phillips—a responsibility Grant hasn’t yet taken on in his tenure at Arizona. 

A new season in a loaded Pac-12 South means a fresh start for Grant. And if he picks up the slack from the previous season, he could turn “Straight Outta Compton” into straight into the NFL.


Follow Justin Spears on Twitter.


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