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Ohio State junior LB Curtis Grant looking for some consistency

Curtis Grant arrived at Ohio State from Richmond, Va., in 2011 amid a ton of hype: He was a consensus national top-25 prospect and considered the No. 1 inside linebacker in that recruiting class.

Things haven't gone as expected, though, as Grant (6-feet-3, 241 pounds) has just 10 tackles in two seasons; he lost his starting job after three games last season and barely played the rest of the way. Fall camp hasn't gone as expected, either, as Grant suffered a concussion making a tackle Aug.7, the first day in pads, and hasn't been back on the field.

"It was a good hit [on the play he suffered a concussion]," Grant told the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch. "I had my head up for the first time in football history. ... I was doing it the right way, and I [still] ended up getting hurt."

Grant has all the needed physical measurables: He has good size, excellent speed and supreme athleticism. In short, he is a perfect physical specimen who is going to stand out in any kind of combine setting. But on the field, he has struggled to maintain consistency and hasn't looked all that instinctual.

Grant went into fall camp as the expected starter at middle linebacker, and assuming he returns to the practice field in the next few days, he still should trot out with the starters Aug. 31 when the Buckeyes open the season against Buffalo. But instead of being the focal point among the linebackers on the field, he will be overshadowed by teammate Ryan Shazier and by Buffalo's Khalil Mack, both of whom have been mentioned as potential first-rounders.

If Grant can't get back on the field soon or struggles when he does return, he risks being passed on the depth chart by younger players. Highly hyped true freshman Mike Mitchell (6-4, 225) arrived from the Dallas area this summer and has progressed to the point where he is running with the first team in Grant's absence.

Coaches don't seem worried about Grant, though.

"We're expecting a lot out of Curtis Grant," defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Luke Fickell told the Dispatch. "Curtis has done an incredible job in the last year, growing and getting over a lot of things. We expect really, really big things from him."

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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