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Fighting through injuries, adversity molds Ohio State captains

August 25, 2014

grega.9@osu.edu

When Urban Meyer named the Ohio State football captains for the 2014 season, he seemed to set the tone for the rest of the year.

Despite being out for the season, senior quarterback Braxton Miller was voted a captain by his teammates for the second season in a row. He headlined the list of five players who will lead the Buckeyes on the field.

Coach Meyer said Miller was a “high vote getter” and the team will try bring him along when it travels as often as possible.

“He’d be one of the 70 (players to go on the trip) if he can go. He won’t be able to go this time because of his (shoulder), but there will be times we have to make that decision,” Meyer said of Miller, who is currently in Florida to meet with Dr. James Andrews for shoulder surgery. Meyer said his surgery is scheduled for Tuesday.

The other four players, all seniors, include cornerback Doran Grant, linebacker Curtis Grant, defensive lineman Michael Bennett and tight end Jeff Heuerman.

Doran Grant, the only returning starter in the Buckeye secondary, has had impressive spring and fall camps, Meyer said Aug. 16, adding that Grant was playing like an all-Big Ten conference corner.

Curtis Grant struggled for most of his Buckeye career to crack the starting lineup as he was constantly battling for time against former Buckeye Ryan Shazier, but then was eventually replaced by former converted fullback Zach Boren because of lack of production.

Despite that, he’s emerged as a starter and team captain for the Buckeyes this year because he’s been putting the team first, junior linebacker Joshua Perry said.

“Curtis has been here for a few years and he has tried a lot of different things to be successful and some of them have worked better than others,” Perry said. “This year his mentality was to be a guy who is about the team and to help everybody in our unit out. I think by doing that, that made him a better overall player and leader.”

Meyer also made a point of singling out Curtis Grant, who has started 13 games in his Buckeye career.

“That’s one of the great things about what we do for a living is to see young people grow up, and boy, has Curtis Grant done a nice job,” he said Monday.

Bennett, who has remained a model of consistency at OSU, is coming off of a season in which he started 13 games and recorded seven sacks.

Bennett is the fourth Buckeye from Centerville High School in Centerville, Ohio, to be named an OSU captain along with now-ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit (1992), Cincinnati Bengals kicker Mike Nugent (2004) and Green Bay Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk (2005). All three went on to be named team-MVP at the end of the year.

He has played 34 games so far in his Buckeye career.

Rounding out the captains is Heuerman, who, like Miller, is coming off of an offseason injury.

Meyer said that although Heuerman still isn’t 100 percent healthy, he anticipates the tight end will play in the opener against Navy.

The senior from Naples, Fla., recorded a career-best season in 2013 with 26 catches for 466 yards and four scores.

The Buckeyes are scheduled to take on Navy Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Kickoff is set for noon.


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