Freshman wide receiver Tyler Grisham appears to be poised for early playing time this year.
Freshman WR Learning on the Fly
That's right. The same receiver that coaches rave about and the same freshman that is anticipated to immediately help out the offense wasn't offered a single scholarship to a Division I school except Clemson.
"Schools shied away from me because they thought I was too small or not fast enough or strong enough," Grisham said. "I got tired of always hearing that."
But size has always been the downside to Grisham. He's listed as 5-foot-11, although he's shorter. He's also listed as weighing 185 pounds. Even if he actually weighs that much, being hit by a monstrous middle linebacker or strong safety could do some damage.
However, he's used to it.
"I started playing in the third grade and they made me play linebacker because I was bigger than all the kids," Grisham said. "Then everyone hit their growth spurts before I did and I wound up smaller than everyone else. I couldn't even tell you. I don't know why. …
"I have speed and I have quickness and I just go out there everyday and don't think about my size. I've been smaller than more than half of the guys since I was in middle school. I just kind of understood that I'm always going to be smaller than everyone else and I just worked that much harder."
His work ethic has certainly made those around him take notice.
"I think for a freshman, he's done real well," senior quarterback Charlie Whitehurst said. "He's made some plays that kind of make him stick out. I think he's refined in the way he runs his routes already and I think he has a great understanding of how to run away from people."
Even with the combination of natural talent and hard work, his first week of practice has been far from easy.
"I'm starting to pick up the offense a little easier, but I need to calm down a little bit," Grisham said. "I'm getting a little nervous out there. I just need to focus and catch the ball. I'm worried about my route, I'm worried about getting off the line of scrimmage and getting up field and catching the ball, and I'm having some trouble with that. I usually don't drop any passes, but I've got to work harder."
Catching passes, which would seem to be second nature to him, was even difficult for the Alabama native, especially when he first arrived on campus in July.
"In summer workouts, I was running some routes and the first couple of times I dropped the passes because I wasn't used to the speed of the ball," said Grisham, who didn't play receiver until his senior year in high school. "After a while, I caught on. I stayed with some of the quarterbacks after practice to get used to it and it helped me out a lot. …
"On your routes, you have to stick and turn your head right away and get open. In high school, you can kind of take your time running routes, but in college ball, it's 10 times faster. That's the thing, you could run a perfect route in high school, but the quarterback wouldn't be that great and it wouldn't be worth it because it would be a horrible throw. But here, almost every throw is right on target. It's great."
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