NEW ORLEANS -- Doran Grant isn't asking to play Amari Cooper in man coverage, but he's not shying away from it, either.
Grant, a senior cornerback for Ohio State, calls Cooper the most complete offensive player the Buckeyes have faced this season, and the best he's seen at the position all year. But while Cooper shredded man coverage all year in amassing a school-record 1,656 receiving yards, Grant said he was unafraid to play single man coverage on Cooper if that's what's asked of him.
And he's not unaware of the many NFL scouting eyes that will weigh his performance on Cooper heavily in his evaluation as a prospect.
"I'm going to play my boundary, and we're going to go," Grant said Tuesday at Sugar Bowl media day. "I know we're going to have some matchups, and that's what I'm looking forward to. Especially on a big stage like this -- that's what this whole playoff is about anyway. If I have the opportunity to play man on him, I'll play man. If that's what we're in, coverage, I'll play him man up."
Grant is one of the fastest players on the Buckeyes roster, with a 40-yard dash time of 4.32 seconds that has been documented for display in the Buckeyes football building. Cooper has also claimed to run in the 4.3-range in the 40. From a scouting standpoint, it's a bigger game for Grant. An NFC scout told College Football 24/7 Grant projects as a mid- to late-round pick in 2015, and that his performance on Cooper will weigh heavily in his draft evaluation.
Grant has no illusions about why.
"He's a very good player -- good speed, great route runner, and he plucks the ball out of the air pretty well, better than any receiver I've played against," Grant said, adding that the runners-up to Cooper, good as they are, were not in Cooper's league.
"Tony Lippett from Michigan State, (Leonte) Carroo from Rutgers, he wasn't bad, and Devin Funchess from Michigan," Grant said. "Those were the best I saw. He's a different player, obviously -- a top-three Heisman finalist for a reason. ... He does a lot of things at a higher level. He has a little bit of everything, and that's what makes him great."
Grant will learn something about himself Thursday, good or bad. And he won't be the only one.