Nease High senior Grant Stevens made a concerted effort a couple of years ago to change not only his position on the field, but also his approach off the field.
He did so with the hope that it would give him a better shot at playing college football, and that came to fruition with his commitment to Coastal Carolina University on July 5.
Stevens made the switch to tight end last season after playing wide receiver his freshman and sophomore seasons.
As a tight end, he found himself a much more integral part of the Panthers’ offense during his junior year and finished with 502 yards and five touchdowns on 40 catches, which is something he looks to build on as a senior.
At 6 feet 4 inches and 225 pounds, Stevens has the mixture of size and speed that makes him a dangerous matchup for opposing defenses.
“When I look back on it, I just don’t think I was that good my freshman and sophomore years,” Stevens said. “I noticed my junior year that I started getting a lot of balls thrown my way and plays drawn up for me.”
As part of the position change, Stevens gained 35 pounds from his sophomore to his junior year, primarily due to changes in his dietary and workout routines.
“It basically took over my life,” Stevens chuckled. “I was working out multiple times a day and eating 4,000 to 5,000 calories a day.”
After his freshman year, Stevens met Nease assistant head coach Robert Garth and he has leaned on him for support ever since.
It was Garth who advised Stevens to consider the transition to tight end, and he has been there supporting Stevens along the way, including during his daily workout sessions.
“He has really pushed to not only gain weight, but get faster,” Stevens said. “I pretty much credit all of my transition from the beginning to now to him for all he’s done for me.”
Twenty-four schools offered Stevens a scholarship and after taking several trips to campuses, including two to Coastal Carolina, it was his official visit to CCU in late June that secured his final decision.
He went to several other official visits after CCU, but nothing could top the feeling he left there with.
“I went there and right away I loved it,” Stevens said. “It just felt like family with the coaches and especially getting to hang out with the players.”
According to Stevens, he was able to talk a lot with current Chanticleer senior tight end Isaiah Likely about what it is like to play in the program.
Stevens said his mom has been very involved and someone he has shared discussions with throughout the process.
“When it actually came down to making a decision, the last three weeks to a month of narrowing down schools was very stressful,” Stevens said. “Once I committed, it was like a weight off my shoulders.”
Stevens will be given the opportunity to play early in his college career with the Chanticleers, which is something that intrigued him.
Coastal Carolina left their mark on the college football world last season by going 11-1 and being named co-champions of the Sun Belt Conference.
According to Stevens, watching that success played a factor in what he believes they are capable of as a program in the future.
“I don’t think they’re going to be good one year and then you’ll never see them again,” Stevens said. “My class will be the highest recruiting class that they’ve ever had, so they are only working on building on it.”
With Stevens, the Chanticleers’ 2022 recruiting class is currently ranked No. 1 in the Sun Belt Conference and No. 51 nationally according to 247Sports.