Big Ten: Kevin Grady

Big Ten lunch links

April, 1, 2011
4/01/11
12:00
PM ET
Schrutes are farmers by hobby and traders by trade.

Michigan injury report

October, 29, 2009
10/29/09
7:17
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Michigan has issued its official injury report for Saturday’s game at Illinois (ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET).

OUT
  • CB Zac Johnson, shoulder
  • C David Molk, knee (out for season)
PROBABLE (75 percent chance of playing)
Overall, this is pretty favorable for Michigan after the team got banged up in the loss to Penn State. Wide receiver Junior Hemingway appears to be fine after a nasty collision with teammate Donovan Warren on a punt return in the third quarter. Senior running back Brandon Minor isn’t listed here but continues to battle a foot/ankle problem. Odoms leads Michigan with 22 receptions for 272 yards and a score, though Hemingway has been the bigger threat at times this season. David Moosman will start at center in place of Molk. Head coach Rich Rodriguez also named game captains: running back Kevin Grady, wide receiver Greg Mathews and guard Tim McAvoy.

A quick check around the Big Ten

October, 17, 2009
10/17/09
1:30
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

It's halftime here at Camp Randall after a very quick first half (38 rushes combined tends to have that effect).

Here's what's happening at the other three Big Ten games.

Ohio State-Purdue: The Boilers once again are hanging tough and have the Buckeyes on upset alert, leading 9-7. Ohio State has been extremely sloppy on offense, losing three fumbles, and aside from a 67-yard scoring drive, the offense has done nothing. Only four first downs in the first half for Ohio State. Purdue's Joey Elliott has completed 19 passes for only 148 yards, which I didn't think was possible. If Purdue can hang onto the ball -- two turnovers already -- it could have a chance to snap the losing streak.

Northwestern-Michigan State: Even though I picked the Spartans, I had a feeling Northwestern, up 7-0, would play well in this one. The Wildcats defense has continued its midseason awakening, setting the tone by stuffing Michigan State on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line to begin the game. Michigan State's run game has struggled, and Northwestern quarterback Mike Kafka has played nearly flawless football so far (17-for-22 passing, 154 yards, 1 TD). Wideout Zeke Markshausen is a stud. The Wildcats would be wise to shelve the run game and ride Kafka as far as he can take them.

Delaware State-Michigan: It's getting ugly in Ann Arbor, where Michigan has put up 49 points on a bad FCS opponent. Tate Forcier started at quarterback for the Wolverines, who haven't needed him as the running game is carrying the way. Michigan is getting reserve backs like Vincent Smith, Kevin Grady and Michael Shaw plenty of work, and backup quarterback Denard Robinson already has six rushes and a touchdown. Delaware State had only 43 total yards late in the first half. Michigan shouldn't play many of its regulars after halftime.

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg


No. 22 Michigan has issued its injury report for Saturday's game at Michigan State (Big Ten Network, noon ET).

OUT
  • Center David Molk, foot
  • Cornerback Zac Johnson, shoulder
PROBABLE

Michigan's struggling secondary certainly could use Williams against the Spartans, so his progress bodes well. Williams has 16 tackles in three games and can aid in coverage as Michigan contends with a deep group of wide receivers and tight ends. Obviously, quarterback Tate Forcier's absence from the injury report indicates he should be fine for the game after hurting his shoulder last week. Running back Kevin Grady, defensive end Brandon Graham, running back Brandon Minor and left tackle Mark Ortmann will serve as game captains.

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg


Michigan has released its injury report for Saturday's home showdown against No. 18 Notre Dame (ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET).

OUT
  • Guard Tim McAvoy (knee)
  • Quarterback Nader Furrha (shoulder)
  • Running back Fitzgerald Toussaint (shoulder)
QUESTIONABLE
PROBABLE

Good news on Minor, the team's projected starter entering the season. He practiced all week and even went through warm-ups last Saturday against Western Michigan before sitting out. Expect senior Carlos Brown to get the start against the Irish, but Minor should get on the field as well.

Hemingway could be a big loss if he sits out, given how well he played last week and his obvious rapport with quarterback Tate Forcier. The sophomore led the Wolverines with five receptions for 103 yards and two touchdowns against the Broncos.

Michigan also announced captains for the Notre Dame game: linebacker Stevie Brown, superback Kevin Grady, right guard David Moosman and defensive end Tim North. Grady's name obviously jumps out because of his off-field troubles, but he has apparently worked his way back into the good graces of the coaching staff.

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Kelvin Grady's new Michigan teammates often chide him about having a smile tattooed on his face.

One possible explanation is that Grady, who joined Michigan's football team this summer after playing two seasons for the Wolverines basketball team, has yet to get his bell rung in a Big Ten game.

But that's not it. His smile comes from a healthy dose of perspective.

After Grady quit the Wolverines hoops team after the 2008-09 season, his future in both sports and school seemed uncertain.

"It crossed my mind that I wouldn't have anything," said Grady, who started 25 basketball games as a freshman before seeing his time reduced last year. "I'd be out. I'd be just like the rest of the guys back home who dropped out of college and didn't have anywhere else to go. But I'm too strong. I've got too much will. I've got a family that supports me. I've got a brother [Kevin, a senior running back for Michigan] that's working hard.

"There were too many things going to the point where I could drop my head and say, 'Nah, it's over.' I knew I was going to fight."

Grady has fought his way into the rotation at slot receiver despite not playing football since high school, when he was an all-state running back for East Grand Rapids High. He rushed for more than 2,000 yards and 28 touchdowns as a senior, and originally intended to play both football and basketball at Michigan before going the hoops route.

The 5-foot-9, 168-pound sophomore is pushing projected starter Martavious Odoms and others for reps at the slot, which typically is the most productive receiver spot in head coach Rich Rodriguez's spread offense. Grady is currently classified as a walk-on, but Rodriguez expects to award several scholarships at the end of preseason camp, so Grady's chances of earning one look good.

"He's learned the system," Rodriguez said. "We've been, I don't want to say surprised, but really pleased with how quickly he's picked it up. He, in a sense, is a true freshman. ... It's a natural for him. It's been a good move."

Rodriguez spent a year and a half teasing Grady about playing football. The coach attended Michigan basketball games, noticed Grady's obvious athleticism and thought he'd be a good fit at slot receiver.

But only after Grady left the basketball team and contemplated leaving Michigan did the talks with Rodriguez get more serious.

"It was just one of those things, jokingly [where Rodriguez said], 'We gonna get you, we gonna get you on the field,'" Grady recalled. "And I would always look at this and be like, 'Nah, you're not going to get me. There's no way I'm getting on that football field.' But then the opportunity came and I really thought about it and put things in perspective. It's definitely something I wanted to do."

Rodriguez didn't make Grady any promises about playing time and told him he'd need to prove himself, first in Michigan's taxing strength program and then on the field at camp.

"If you're going to come over and try football, you better have a passion for it and you better love it,'" Rodriguez told Grady.

So far, it hasn't been a problem.

"Sometimes, I have to pinch myself because I'm here," he said. "At one point, my back was against the wall, didn't know where I was going to go. It's a blessing, man. It motivates me, it keeps me up, it keeps my smiling, it keeps things in perspective."

Big Ten media days primer

July, 22, 2009
7/22/09
3:49
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

The SEC media circus is well under way in Alabama, and next week marks the unofficial start to the Big Ten season as head coaches and players from all 11 teams arrive in Chicago for media days.

I'm probably a little too excited to make the trip down Lake Shore Drive to the Hyatt Regency, but after a full offseason of blogging, I can't wait for things to get started.

Big Ten media days lack the crowd or the craziness of the SEC event, but there's always some entertainment. If anything, the kickoff luncheon Tuesday provides some comic relief as mascots and cheerleaders mill about near the conference rooms.

The event schedule goes like this:

MONDAY

All 11 Big Ten head coaches will address reporters on the dais from 11 a.m to 2:15 p.m. ET. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany talks from 2:30 to 3 p.m. ET.

TUESDAY

All 11 head coaches and three players from each team will be available for one-on-one interviews from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. ET. New Big Ten coordinator of football officials Bill Carollo also will do interviews at this time.

Players and coaches have autograph and photo sessions from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and the kickoff luncheon begins at 12:30.

Here are some storylines I'll be following next week in Chicago:

  • Penn State head coach Joe Paterno is always a newsmaker, no matter what he's talking about. Paterno has a new contract and a new hip, and he appears to have no plans to retire soon. But I'm sure he'll be asked about retirement, Big Ten expansion and whether his team can repeat as league champs.
  • Can the Big Ten rebound in the postseason? Six consecutive losses in BCS games, two national title game defeats and no Rose Bowl wins since 2000 have soured the league's national reputation. The league really did nothing to improve its standing last season, and coaches and players will be asked how they can fix the problem this fall.
  • The Ohio State-USC game once again will be the Big Ten's premier nonconference matchup. This time, the Buckeyes get USC at home and hold an edge in experience. Sure, the game isn't until Sept. 12, but the hype machine cranks up Monday. Can the Buckeyes end the Big Ten's run of badness against the mighty Trojans?
  • It's Rich Rodriguez's second season at Michigan, and expectations will be higher for the Wolverines. Rodriguez has a track record of Year 2 turnarounds, but he'll be once again working with an inexperienced quarterback (Tate Forcier or Denard Robinson). Can he get Michigan back to the postseason?
  • Speaking of quarterback competitions, I'll be checking on how things are going at Wisconsin, Michigan State and Purdue.
  • There's a movement among some Big Ten athletic directors to add a ninth conference game, even though it would leave the schedule unbalanced. How close is this to being a reality?
  • Delany will undoubtedly be asked about expansion, and he'll undoubtedly give the same answer he's given for months -- it's a back-burner issue. I'm more interested to see whether the Big Ten will shuffle its bowl lineup as most agreements expire after the 2009 season.
  • I'm interested to get injury and status updates on the following players: Illinois DT Josh Brent, Indiana S Austin Thomas, Iowa RB Jewel Hampton, Michigan RB Kevin Grady, Michigan DE Ryan Van Bergen, Northwestern DE Corey Wootton, Ohio State RB Jaamal Berry, Penn State RB Stephfon Green and Purdue RB Jaycen Taylor.
Needless to say, there will be a lot on my mind. The Big Ten blog should be your destination throughout media days for all the updates from downtown Chicago.

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Chatted with Rich Rodriguez this morning about Michigan's hot start to recruiting for 2010 -- check Thursday's blog for more on that -- and he also talked a bit about Kevin Grady and Kelvin Grady, who both could play roles for the Wolverines offense this fall.

Kevin Grady, a senior running back, is working out with the team this summer after serving a 7-day jail sentence last month for violating his probation on a drunken driving conviction. Grady appeared in 11 games as a reserve last season and has seen his production decline since 2005.

But he might not have played his last down for the Wolverines.

"He's taking care of his responsibilities from the previous thing that he had," Rodriguez said. "His status with the team will be based on what he does over the next several months."

Kevin's younger brother Kelvin left Michigan's basketball team April and will attempt to play football for the Wolverines this season as a walk-on. Kelvin was a standout running back at East Grand Rapids High School and got recruited in both sports by Michigan and other schools. He started 33 games as a point guard for the Wolverines hoops squad.

Unlike Kevin Grady, whose size made him a natural fit at tailback, Kelvin is smaller and more explosive as a runner. Rodriguez said the younger Grady would get a shot at slot receiver.

"He's an outstanding athlete and he sees an opportunity," Rodriguez said. "We kind of teased him about it for about a year now. We would say, 'Why don't you play both?' because he was a really good high school [football] player.

"He's going to have an opportunity. He's obviously been out for a couple years, but he's still a young guy and he's been active and he's been training. So he's going to be in pretty good shape, and we'll see what happens."

  • Rodriguez said there "may be" more players who leave the program but didn't name anyone specifically. Michigan has seen several players transfer, namely quarterback Steven Threet and wide receiver Toney Clemons. "Academically, guys are doing pretty good," Rodriguez said. "For the most part, we're in pretty good shape."

Big Ten lunch links

June, 5, 2009
6/05/09
12:30
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Did Doogie Howser just steal my [expletive] car? 

  • The father of Michigan running back Kevin Grady said his son did not violate his probation, which led to jail time for the younger Grady, The Detroit News reports. 
  • Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark thinks he "has a pretty good shot" at Heisman Trophy consideration, John Kovach writes in The (Youngstown) Vindicator.
  • This probably won't please Wisconsin fans, but the Badgers likely will play Austin Peay in 2010, James D. Horne writes in The Leaf-Chronicle. 
  • The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette's Mike Hlas invites you to vote for your favorite Big Ten expansion plan
  • Several top recruits from the Midwest descend on Illinois' campus this weekend for the Nike Football Training Camp, colleague Bill Kurelic writes.
  • Top prospect Seantrel Henderson lists Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio State and Iowa among his favorites at this point in the recruiting process.  

Big Ten lunch links

May, 18, 2009
5/18/09
12:30
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Wouldn't you love a job where you only have to be in the office one day a year? Well, I got one, and today's the day.

Bristol is beautiful this time of year. 

  • The Big Ten bowl lineup will be a key topic this week at the league meetings, and changes could be on the way, Scott Dochterman writes in The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette.
  • Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez wants to see more facts before ruling on the status of jailed running back Kevin Grady, Mark Snyder writes in the Detroit Free Press. Wolverines offensive lineman Kurt Wermers has left the team, and more players could follow, John Heuser writes in The Ann Arbor News. 
  • It's prediction time, and The Detroit News' Angelique Chengelis sees Michigan State winning 10 games, while Michigan gets back on the right side of the .500 mark. Not much love for Penn State or the Big Ten in Chengelis' early Top 25
  • Despite being relegated to a backup role behind Terrelle Pryor, Joe Bauserman has no regrets about his path to this point or sticking with the Buckeyes, Tim May writes in The Columbus Dispatch. 
  • New Illinois offensive coordinator Mike Schultz is still figuring out where to live in Champaign, but he's doing what he does best these days -- recruit the state of Texas, Bob Asmussen writes in The (Champaign) News-Gazette. 
  • The fine Ohio State blog Eleven Warriors has a nice preview of Big Ten meetings, which take place this week in Chicago and will be highlighted by Joe Paterno's continued push for expansion.

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Kevin Grady's disappointing career at Michigan took another wrong turn Thursday, as the reserve running back was sentenced to seven days in jail after pleading guilty to violating his probation.

Grady had been on probation after pleading guilty to misdemeanor DWI stemming from a July 2 traffic stop in Wyoming, Mich. Court officials told The Grand Rapids Press that Grady hasn't complied with the terms of his probation, including community service and properly reporting to probation officials in Ann Arbor. Grady also tested positive for opiates.

There's no word yet on Grady's status with the team -- head coach Rich Rodriguez has been traveling -- but I wouldn't expect to see much more of him in maize and blue. Michigan has plenty of capable running backs in Brandon Minor, Carlos Brown and Michael Shaw, and early enrollee Vincent Smith emerged during spring practice.

Grady was indefinitely suspended following his drunken driving arrest last summer but was on the field for the start of preseason practice. He was suspended for the season opener against Utah but appeared in Michigan's final 11 games as a reserve, logging 14 carries for 33 yards and a touchdown.

Named the Gatorade Player of the Year in Michigan as a high school senior, Grady arrived in Ann Arbor with a ton of hype but hasn't done much since his freshman year.

Big Ten mailbag

May, 5, 2009
5/05/09
9:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

You rang?

Vince from Dublin, Ohio, writes: Hey Adam, have you checked out Terrelle Pryor's new tattoo on his right forearm? I guess he's a "Buckeye" for life now. He got it in the days after the Spring Game. Isn't it bad to screw with karma since he had a decent game in the scrimmage?

Adam Rittenberg: I just checked it out after getting several e-mails about it. That's dedication, I guess. Terrelle just needs to make sure he doesn't go on to play or coach at another Big Ten school. I still can't get over seeing the Hawkeye tattoo on Bret Bielema's leg. As for karma, I doubt a tattoo will affect his performance this fall. Better decision-making and footwork are usually bigger factors than body art.


Kevin from State College, Pa., writes: Hey Adam I was wondering if you seriously see Penn State and Pitt starting up the rivalry any time soon. I dont think theres any question that the rivalries with Ohio State and Michigan State are picking up but I know many Penn Staters who would love to see the series start up again. I think it would be great to see this historic rivalry come back as it would finally settle the fight between these fans and would help both of them in national exposure.

Adam Rittenberg: I found it interesting that Joe Paterno mentioned Pitt as a team he'd like to see the Big Ten add if the league ever expands to 12 teams. It almost sounded like that would be the only way Penn State would ever rekindle the rivalry with the Panthers. With Alabama, Virginia and now Rutgers on the schedule, Penn State likely won't add Pitt in the near future. Penn State doesn't part with home games easily, and Pitt would have to be pretty generous for an agreement to work out.

(Read full post)

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Brandon Minor gets it.

 
  Joe Robbins/Getty Images
  Michigan running back Brandon Minor hopes to become a more vocal leader for the Wolverines this season.
And after a season where Michigan looked lost trying to execute the zone reads, misdirections and bubble screens in Rich Rodriguez's spread offense, getting it is a major step. The quarterback position will always be paramount for Rodriguez, but the running backs must make this offense go.

"We've got to be the engine of this offense, especially because we're being keyed on a lot," Minor said after Saturday's practice in Ann Arbor. "We're the main part of our offense. If we're doing good, that makes every other position in the offense easier. If we're doing good in the running game, it opens up the pass. If we do better on our fakes, the linemen are able to block."

As for those questionable quarterbacks?

"Yeah, I'll protect them, too," Minor said with a laugh.

Minor overcame shoulder and wrist injuries to emerge as Michigan's top back down the stretch last season. He averaged 89.4 rush yards in the Wolverines' final five games, highlighted by a 117-yard effort against Penn State, which led the Big Ten and was eighth nationally in rush defense (93.2 ypg). He also exploded for 155 rush yards and three touchdowns against Purdue.

The senior leads a group of running backs -- Michael Shaw, Carlos Brown, Kevin Grady -- who have gone through a year in Rodriguez's system. Running back and offensive line are the two most experienced units on the team, and Rodriguez expects fewer growing pains from those players.

"I want the pressure to be on me," Minor said.

(Read full post)

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

The superlatives move on to Michigan, a team still dealing with several obvious weaknesses, but boasting more strengths than it did a year ago.

Quarterback remains a question mark for the Wolverines, but they should be stronger at the other spots on offense. The defense gets a makeover up front and must adjust to a new coordinator (Greg Robinson) and a different scheme.

Strongest position -- Running back

Key returnees: Senior Brandon Minor, senior Carlos Brown, sophomore Michael Shaw, senior Kevin Grady

Key departures: Sam McGuffie (118 carries, 486 yards, 3 touchdowns)

The skinny: The growing pains should continue at quarterback, but this group of running backs, along with a more seasoned offensive line, should lighten the load this season. Minor finished 2008 strong and enters the fall as an All-Big Ten candidate. Shaw averaged 5.1 yards a carry as a freshman and should only get better. Brown provides another threat if he can stay healthy. McGuffie's departure shouldn't hurt too much. The wide receiver corps returns virtually intact, and Michigan could be a lot better at linebacker and along the offensive line.

Weakest position -- Quarterback

Key returnees: Junior Nick Sheridan

Key departures: Steven Threet (102 completions, 1,105 pass yards, 9 touchdowns)

The skinny: Tate Forcier very well could be the answer for Michigan, but he'll be a true freshman trying to absorb a somewhat familiar, but more complex offense this spring. Steven Threet wasn't a perfect fit by any means, but he started eight games last fall and would have given head coach Rich Rodriguez some insurance if the two incoming freshmen (Forcier and Denard Robinson) didn't catch on right away. The defensive line also could fit here after the losses of three starters, but end Brandon Graham is a beast and the incoming freshmen should help.

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

It doesn't take a recruiting guru to spot the biggest need for the Michigan Wolverines. Nothing against quarterbacks Steven Threet or Nick Sheridan, but neither man has the skill set to consistently operate Rich Rodriguez's spread offense.

Quarterback undoubtedly tops Rodriguez's wish list with his first full recruiting class, and the spotlight will immediately turn to Tate Forcier, one of seven players who enrolled early. Despite being a true freshman, Forcier likely will enter spring practice as the favorite to win the starting job.

Michigan's other major area of need is the defensive line after losing starters Terrance Taylor, Will Johnson and Tim Jamison. Star pass-rusher Brandon Graham will anchor the group in 2009, but there are opportunities for young players to step in right away. Defensive tackle signee William Campbell already is generating a lot of buzz, and Michigan certainly will add more depth up front.

With the team's new defensive coordinator likely using a three-man front, the Wolverines need some help in the back half of the defense, particularly the secondary. Gone are starters Morgan Trent and Brandon Harrison, and after finishing ninth in the Big Ten in pass defense, Michigan could use some new blood in coverage.

A surplus of running backs is never bad for Rodriguez's offense, and despite returning Brandon Minor, Carlos Brown, Kevin Grady and Michael Shaw this fall, Michigan needs to plan for 2010 and could add a few more ball carriers. The Wolverines also lose kicker K.C. Lopata and will look for a replacement in this class.

SPONSORED HEADLINES