Influential Paladin: Darren Grainger

By: Kristen Janes, Staff Writer

As of last week, Justin Fuente and the Hokies likely thought little of a small Southern Conference School like Furman. There was no real reason for a dominant ACC program like Virginia Tech football to be anxious about the Paladins coming into Blacksburg, but the Furman football team was calm and collected with Darren Grainger leading the team. 

Last season, Grainger threw the only touchdown pass in Furman’s opening game against reigning National Champions, the Clemson Tigers. This season, as only a red-shirt freshman, he was named QB1, and was tasked with leading his team, yet again, to face a stronger, bigger team in Virginia Tech. Showing the technical skill, fast thinking and leadership ability of a long-time veteran, Grainger and his starters were up by 11 at the half, with no signs of slowing down. The depth of Virgina Tech won out in the end, but the loss did little to dampen Grainger’s spirit. 

In Furman’s dominant 45-10 victory over Mercer on Saturday’s Family Weekend game, Grainger passed for 190 yards and a touchdown, as well as ran for a score. With two home wins already under his belt, and two incredibly close big-time games to scare off the nerves, he’s looking to make an impression in the Southern Conference for the rest of the season. 

“I’m expecting our team to play hard and dominate each football game” said Grainger about his expectations going into the rest of the regular season. “If we do that, we should come out with another ring.”

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