Western Kentucky University wide receiver Antwane Grant was hoping to be drafted on Day 3 of the 2016 NFL Draft. He gathered with friends and family on Saturday and had high hopes to hear his name called out on national TV.
The Draft came and went, and Grant's name wasn't announced. Instead, he signed with the Bengals as an undrafted free agent minutes after the Draft wrapped up.
"This weekend was a surreal feeling. Watching the draft I thought I had a chance in the sixth of seventh rounds. But, about 25 minutes after the draft ended, I got the call and I heard coach say he was from the Cincinnati Bengals," Grant told Cincy Jungle exclusively. "It was a huge weight off my shoulders and I'm excited and can't wait to get to Cincinnati."
In 2015, Grant had 55 receptions for 701 yards, an average of 13.2 yards per catch and 7 touchdowns with the Hilltoppers. He also had 3 rushing attempts which yielded 65 yards. Of those 65 rushing yards, 59 came in one attempt. "It was just a jet sweep. I ended up breaking the tackle from the safety and followed my teammates' blocks the rest of the way," Grant said of the big gain which yielded his only rushing touchdown at WKU.
Grant will arrive in Cincinnati on Thursday and rookie mini camp will begin on Friday. The rookies will meet, greet, practice and get ready to met the veterans next week.
"For the weekend, we'll have about three practices and going into next week I'll get to meet the rest of the veterans and everything. I'm just looking forward to taking it from there," Grant said.
After attending WKU, Grant is excited to be staying in the Cincinnati area. He has a son who lives in Memphis, about six hours away, and when he got the call from the Bengals after the draft, he knew it was the right team for him to sign with.
"Cincinnati wasn't one of the teams on my radar before the Draft," Grant admitted. "But after getting the call from them, I felt it was a good fit for me and I'm just ready to get to work in Cincinnati. I knew I had to take that opportunity."
Grant has set a few goals for himself heading into the 2016 season.
"Make the roster, make the active roster," he said. "I'm looking to be the one. To try and make the team and do whatever the team wants me to do. I want to help them in anyway I can. I want to help them win games."
Grant has experience at multiple special teams positions, which is an area in which he'll need to excel if he hopes to make the roster.
"My senior year I actually stepped up on special teams. I was a gunner on punts, kickoffs and my junior year I was on kick returns. Kick returns are definitely something I'd like to do and I wouldn't mind being a gunner on special teams," he said.
Of the AFC North, Grant knows it's a tough division.
"I feel as though I'm physically capable of playing in the division, knowing how physical it is. I'm just looking forward to it. I'm excited and I can't wait."
As far as what Grant, who says he can't wait to be a part of Who Dey Nation, wants Bengals fans to know about him, he says, "I would honestly say I'm a hard worker, down to earth, a loving father, a god fair man and a humble being overall. I'm looking forward to coming in, working hard and helping the team win games."