Saturday, November 24, 2012

Grant Commits to Bowdoin, Wins NH Notebook Mr. Football Award

What a week for Exeter High senior Tyler Grant. In just a few short days he led the Blue Hawks to their second consecutive Division I football title, he committed to attend and play football at Bowdoin College, and today he was named the 2012 NH Notebook Mr. Football Award winner. He had over 1,400 total yards and 20 total touchdowns.

Bowdoin is a private liberal arts college located in Brunswick, Maine. Their football team competes in the NESCAC, which in addition to being one of the most competitive Division III conferences in the country for football it is also one of the top academic conferences in the nation period.

"Tyler Grant is the epitome of an outstanding student-athlete" said Exeter football coach Bill Ball, who won his 7th state championship last weekend. "As a football player he has great burst, sound instincts and a tremendous will to succeed. He can play on either side of the ball and possesses tremendous football IQ. Simply put, he's a winner!"

(Grant's senior highlight film can be found here: http://www.hudl.com/athlete/1936874/highlights)

The schools in the NESCAC (New England Small College Athletic Conference) offer an exceptional combination of athletics and academics. And considering Grant is this year's NH Notebook Mr. Football and also has a 3.67 GPA there is no doubt he would be a good fit.

"When I went to Coach Ball’s office to have a sit down conversation with him and my parents about my future, he told me that he always saw me as a 'NESCAC guy'" Grant explained. "Exeter has had quite a few players go into the league and be very successful, and he told me that since I came in as a freshman he knew that that league would be the perfect fit for me. Coach Ball has had tons of experience with these things, and I trusted him fully, so I went out on the NESCAC search. This summer I went to numerous camps and college visits around the league to get a feel for each school individually. Bowdoin was the first camp that I went to, and I had a very good feeling about it that stuck with me. Right now Bowdoin is my number one choice, and if I get in, that will be the school I attend next fall."

When deciding which college to attend, academics must be a big factor, especially when you're talking about NESCAC schools.

"I knew that when looking for a good college fit for me, academics came first and football was clearly second" Grant said. "Football was very important to me and I desperately want to play in college. But let’s face it, I’m not going to get into the pros so ultimately football is just something to do for fun. I want to have a promising career when I get out of college, so my main focus was on the academics. Bowdoin has such a high reputation for being a great academic school, so when the head coach told me he was very interested in me, I began to pursue it further. Everything I saw and read about the school encouraged me more and more that it would be a perfect fit for me. I knew that I would be challenged academically, and the competition in their division is very high athletically so everything gave me a very strong impression that the school was the place I wanted to end up."

It's very difficult to win a state championship, but Exeter has won back-to-back titles in the state's highest division. Grant was the MVP of both of those teams.

"I think one thing that makes Exeter so different from a lot of the other schools is how close everyone on the team is to one another" said Grant. "Every guy truly is willing to put it all on the line for each other, and it is just a group of unselfish people that work so well together. I really think this helps contribute to why we are so good, because we feed off of each others emotions, and are always trying to make each other the best that we can be. When you have a group of guys like we do, the feeling of winning together is so amazing that there are just no words that can describe it. It started with the seniors from last year who lead the way for us, and the fact that we were able to go back-to-back state championships my junior and senior year is just surreal. It is something that will be with me forever."

Grant was one of the top high school players in NH at both running back and defensive back. He was also a dangerous punt returner. However at the college level, players typically play on just one side of the football.

"I was recruited to Bowdoin for my versatility" Grant continued. "The thing the coach said he liked about me was that he could see me playing at 12 of the 22 different positions, and being a factor for special teams. I was recruited mainly as a running back, but I can play wherever I am needed if there are injuries or if something happens."

Grant credits not only his teammates but also the Exeter coaches for his success on the field.

"I couldn’t say enough great things about Coach Ball and the rest of the Blue Hawk coaching staff" said Grant. "The amount of time and effort they put into the program is second to none, and they are a group of people that are always there for you when you need them, and they are completely dedicated to seeing everyone reach their full potential. Coach Ball took me under his wing from a young age, and he, as well as the other coaches, turned me into a football player that I believe I would never have been in any other program. Even though I was a lot smaller than most, they had faith in me and helped me because of my hard work and dedication, and they gave me a chance. They gave me confidence, and pushed me way harder than anyone else had ever pushed me before in my life, and I can never thank them enough for what they did. Coach Ball specifically has always supported me and is a person that I can always count on to be there for me whenever I need something from him. It was an honor to be able to play under such a great coaching staff, and I will never forget how they helped turn me into the young man that I am today."

With his commitment to attend and play football at Bowdoin, all of Grant's hard work on the field and in the classroom has truly paid off.

"I still think it is amazing that I have been able to work hard enough in the classroom for the last number of years in order to be able to set myself up to go to such a high academic school" Grant concluded. "It makes me feel that all of those hundreds of hours spent staying up late doing homework, and all those hours put into the weight room and my conditioning are finally paying off for me in the end. Hard work and dedication have always been implemented into my head since I was born, and that just comes from having so much support from my family. My older brother and older sister have both been very successful in their lives, and they have set the bar high for me to follow their lead. My parents are always there to help me, yet at the same time they constantly encourage and push me to reach my full potential, and I owe a lot of my success to them. I sometimes overlook the amount of things they do for me, like the amount of hours they have put into driving me to different colleges or different sporting events, but I realize that I would not be able to be where I am today without them always being there for me. On top of that, I have a close group of friends that are also very motivated to being successful in everything they do, and I am always surrounded by competition in every phase of my life. I have always been very strong in math, and I want to pursue something in that field like engineering or working in finance. I am extremely happy with how my high school career, (especially ending it with back to back state championships!) and I am even more excited to start over fresh again in college."

Congratulations to Tyler - for his commitment to Bowdoin, and for being named the 2012 NH Notebook's Mr. Football!

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