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Q/A on Wes Lunt with Zach Grant

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Zach Grant was Wes Lunt’s #1 target over the past two seasons at Rochester high school. He had 131 catches (shattering his old high school conference record) and set a new state record (by 679 yards) with 2,310 receiving yards. He sat down with me at the end of last week to talk about OSU’s new starting quarterback.

When did you and Wes meet?

We actually went to the same preschool here in Rochester and we just kinda started being friends there and all throughtout grade school and high school and so on.

Did you guys play sports growing up?

We played basketball since kindgergarten. He actually played football before I did in first grade, and then he didn’t play until freshman year. I was actually the quarterback my 5th grade thru 8th grade year then I switched to receiver and it just kind of worked out.

Are you going to play football next year?

Yeah I am, I’m going to play at St. Ambrose in Davenport, Iowa so I’m excited about that. But being with Wes would be amazing. I’m happy where I’m at and I’m happy for Wes, everything’s falling into place for him and it’s awesome.

Was there ever any chance of you walking on at OSU?

We’ve talked about it quite a few times, it’s a dream for every high school player to want to play at the highest level. It still is my dream and I’ve thought about it a lot. There’s a chance for everyone and I would love to be on the other end of Wes’ passes for another four years. Things have kind of fallen into place for both of us but you never know what could happen in the future. If something did happen to where I did consider going down to Stillwater, I’d be happy and I know I’d have Wes with me and he’d enjoy that too.

Did you go to the spring game?

I did. Me and a couple of buddies and Mr. Lunt drove down last Friday. Dakota Greer and Tommy Johnson, we’re all best friends with Wes, we’ve all been pretty tight all throughout school. We went down and hung out in Stillwater Friday night and got to hang out with Wes a little then on Saturday went to the spring game. I was in awe by everything Wes goes through every day. I can’t imagine, it’s my dream, man.

What did you think about Stillwater?

It reminded me of Rochester, it reminded me of home. You walk into an IHOP and you have 20 people in there with Oklahoma State football shirts on and it’s so much like Rochester where Rochester football means everything to this town. Stillwater is such a close knit town, it’s amazing how much Rochester and Stillwater compare.

Are you surprised at all Wes was named the starter?

To be 100% honest, no. I was almost overwhelmed, I just couldn’t believe it but it didn’t surprise me. He’s the real deal, I knew just by watching the spring game and just by how he works on the field and always has. He’s always been very calm and composed, I think that was definitely a big part of him winning the job. He came in and handled everything so well, just coming in as a freshman. The whole time I had a feeling, I knew he could do it. The whole time I was pulling for him, I talk to him a lot during the week and ask him how practice is going. He’s honest with me and told me if he did bad or good and by what he said he did pretty good and obviously he’s the starting quarterback now. I think it’s nice for Wes now that he can just kind of settle down, we’re planning on hanging out all weekend and just relaxing. Getting all the hype and all the stress out for a month until he has to go back and get back at it again.

What are you guys doing this weekend?

St. Ambrose has their spring game tomorrow (Saturday) and Wes is going to drive over with me and I was going to show him what I’m going to go through next year and show him through Davenport. We’re going to go over there and have some fun, watch that game and come back and probably hang out in Rochester.

What was the toughest thing for Wes about enrolling at OSU early?

I know the toughtest thing for Wes was being away. He’s so close to his family and we’re all in a close knit group of friends and I know it’s tough because he I know he feels like he’s missed out on things, anyone would if they went that far away and had to go through what he did. Just talking to him I know it was a big transition for him and I know he was going through a lot at first but I think he kind of grasped it and took it the right way. He obviously showed everyone what he was all about.

What does Wes do on the field better than any other quarterback you saw in high school?

Any ball I caught last year, it was where no other defended could catch it. We would run the same play over and over again, pretty much just a fade, and that’s what we would beat people on. I’m telling you, every single ball he would throw was backside shoulder, or if a kid was to my backside shoulder it would be to my inside or if a kid was right on me he would throw it up and let me go get it. It’s amazing, he can put it where nobody else can catch it but me. It made me look pretty good, he was definitely the x-factor there because he put the ball where I was the only one who could catch it.

What’s the best throw you’ve ever seen him make?

The Springfield game we both set records (story here). That game was a lot of screens and a lot of running and it was a LONG game. But the best throw I’ve seen him make was in the state championship game last year. We were on the opposite 40, I ran a sluggo route and he threw it to my backside shoulder. It was a great play by both of us. I had a kid to my inside, he was kind of trailing me a little bit, probably two yards behind, and Wes put it right on the sidelines. My foot was two inches from the sidelines, it was an amazing ball. I had to go get it a little bit but he put it where it needed to be.

Is his throwing ability something he was born with or developed?

When he came in freshman year, Wes had it. Wes is one of those kids who you either got it or you don’t…and Wes has it. He’s a great athlete, great basketball player, great football player. I will say Coach Leonard would work with us every single day, he would push Wes and do everything to help him. I think Coach Leonard is a big factor in where Wes is today. If you look back at our recent quarterbacks, Will Lunt (Wes’ brother), one of the most amazing quarterbacks I’ve ever seen, he’s at Western Illinois playing. Sean Robinson went to Purdue to play quarterback (playing LB now), and now Wes, that’s three D-1 quarterbacks just out of Rochester. I think Coach Leonard has changed this program around and he really helped Wes too. I think when Wes came in he had the skills, Coach Leonard gave him the ability and showed him technique and everything. He’s definitely a huge part of it.

Who did you guys model your games after?

As a white receiver, I think everyone looks at Wes Welker, that’s definitely me. I look at him and he fulfilled my dream and he’s kind of a guy I can look up to. I’ve always seen Wes as a Tom Brady kind of guy, kind of quiet and composed and he’s just got a rocket.

Was Wes being quiet an issue for you guys?

No, Wes has always been quiet, but when he needs to be loud and speak up and say what’s on his mind, he will. He’s always been the kind of person to do that. You’ll see Wes and just randomly, you won’t expect it, and he’ll just get really fired up and you’re just like “oh my gosh, this isn’t Wes.” We would always, after every touchdown, we just kind of got used to it and we’d look at each other and nod and go do it again. I don’t think that’d be a factor for him. I think Wes knew, and obviously he’s the starting quarterback over there, so I know he has to be a leader and I have 100% respect for him and know he can play the leader role at Oklahoma State.

How many TDs did you guys connect for in high school?

My junior year we only had nine but my senior year we had 23 so overall 32 in our careers (corrected: Lunt was hurt the first four games of last season so not all of those 23 were via him).

Is he the best player you saw when you were in high school?

No doubt in my mind. He’s amazing, the thing is people would kind of watch our games and it was an air raid. We’d throw it every single play and it was fun to watch but people don’t realize what you really have. When you have a quarterback like Wes people get used to it and just expect it but I don’t think people know what they had until they see things like this now with Wes starting and you realize ‘man, he’s that good.’

What’s his ceiling?

For every kid they always think it’s a long shot, but I think he’ll end up playing on Sundays. I think he’s that good. If everything goes well and he stays injury free, I think Wes could definitely be playing on Sundays. That’s what I pray for him and hope that everything falls into place like it has so far. Hopefully he can lead them back to a national championship or a bowl game. I know he can, I definitely think he’s capable of doing it. He has what it takes.

How much did you guys follow Oklahoma State this year?

I didn’t even really think about Oklahoma State until Wes called me. I was in Florida when Wes called me and said ‘hey man, I’m going to OK State next year.’ Ever since that day I’ve been an Oklahoma State fan, we’d watch the games and we’d go over to Wes’ house and Mrs. Lunt would make us some food and we’d just kind of chill over there. Got to watching Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon, and it was a lot of fun. I didn’t really realize how good Oklahoma State was and how great of a program it was until Wes came into the picture. It was pretty cool.

How excited is the Rochester community about Wes being named the starter?

Everyone is just nuts, Wes is trending on Twitter, everyone’s following him and everyone knows what’s going on. You look on Facebook and it’s just “Wes Lunt, Wes Lunt, Wes Lunt.” I think it’s good for Wes that he’s getting out of here this weekend because I think it’ll all settle down by next week. He told me ‘you know I had 100 texts that day.’ I know that can be stressful for him because he isn’t one to want publicity, he doesn’t want a lot of attention. Rochester is so happy for him and I know Rochester will be Cowboy country for the next four years.

Here’s a video of some highlights from Zach’s senior year (the catch at 0:55 is nasty)…

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