LUBBOCK, Texas -- Jakeem Grant likes Josh Doctson and Corey Coleman. He respects their playmaking talents. He enjoys watching them chase All-America seasons. And he’ll proudly tell you Jakeem Grant is just as good as them.
"Everybody’s talking about those guys," Grant said. "Just imagine if I was 6 feet."
He’s 5-foot-7 and 168 pounds, and he’s about to go down as one of the great receivers in Texas Tech history. At 2,973 career yards, Grant is 155 yards from passing Michael Crabtree as the Red Raiders’ all-time leading receiver. He has a chance to finish No. 1 in career all-purpose yards, too.
He’s enjoying the best season of his Red Raider career and is No. 3 in receiving yards in the Big 12 right behind TCU’s Doctson and Baylor’s Coleman. He’s logged passing, rushing, receiving and return touchdowns this season.
Yet, he’s still waiting on a little recognition. What is it going to take? What more can he do?
"It just kills me that I’m putting up these numbers and I’m still not being talked about because of my size, my height," Grant said. "I understand that. People like bigger guys. But a lot of bigger guys can’t do what I can do."
Against Oklahoma State, he proved that again. Grant turned a 5-yard out into a 90-yard gain, eluding a flood of tacklers with jukes, cuts and high-speed maneuvering. He dashed from the left side of the field to the right and all the way back left over the course of the play. It felt like a 400-meter dash, he said, and it lasted nearly 20 seconds. Had he stayed left and snuck around Devin Lauderdale's downfield block, he knows he would have scored.
"I ran out of gas," Grant said. "I wish I would’ve put the gas tank on full before I took off and tried to make a trip out of town."
He wasn’t done, adding a 100-yard kick return touchdown and a 12-yard touchdown catch in the 70-53 loss to the Cowboys. Coach Kliff Kingsbury says he’s never seen a player more difficult to tackle in space, and he admires that Grant has always carried himself (and thought of himself) like a 10-footer.
"He has little-man syndrome. It's very, very bad," linebacker Micah Awe joked. "He has to go to the doctor or something for that."
Grant has always been this explosive, but something is a little different about his consistency this year as he closes in on his first 1,000-yard season.
"I think this year is by far the most mature he's been on and off the field," Kingsbury said. "The way he practices and handles himself in the classroom, he's just grown up each year we've been here."
Though Doctson and Coleman are on the fast track to being top draft picks, Grant can’t help but wonder what opportunities await him next year. No matter what, he can’t wait to keep doing what he’s done for years: prove he’s not too small and embarrass anyone who stands in his way.
"I know for a fact none of these guys can run with me. None of these guys can stop me," Grant said. "I prove that every single game. I still get no credit, no respect. So I’ll continue to show every day, every game, and show them every time I can.
"If I get a chance in the NFL, I’ll show the coaches you can put your best corner on me -- it doesn’t matter who he is or what he can do -- and I’ll make him look bad."