NFL player Grant Hermanns reflects on New Mexican roots
RIO RANCHO, N.M. – From New Mexico to the NFL, the sky has been the limit for 24-year-old Offensive Lineman Grant Hermanns. He was just picked up by the Miami Dolphins, after playing with the New York Jets for the past year.
He told KOB 4 a career in football would not have been possible without his support system in the Land of Enchantment.
“I started playing football, I think around the fifth grade,” Hermanns said. “My dad served in the military, so he was overseas. With my mom working and having two jobs, it just wasn’t possible for us. So I started football a little later than some of the other kids.”
His late start did not discourage him from falling in love with the game, and in fact encouraged him to work harder at catching up.
“Just constantly working, working, working and having that vision of where that next step I need to take is in the game, as a player and as a man,” Hermanns said.
All that work paid off when he made the football team at Rio Rancho High School—first as a defensive end, then an offensive lineman—during an especially exciting time for the Rams.
“We were the first undefeated team and first state champions at Rio Rancho High School,” Hermanns said.
He knew he wanted to continue playing after graduation, but also realized it would not be easy to attract attention outside of New Mexico.
“Every single day, I would draft up emails, and I would send it off to colleges, and just basically send it off to college football coaches, my huddle tape and everything attached,” he said. “I would say it comes down to ‘want to,’ it comes down to preparation. Are you ready to go when that door, when the opportunity shows up? Are you ready to step through it?”
Hermanns said he was more than prepared to step through that door when he got a call from Purdue University in Indiana.
“I ended up going to Purdue, redshirting my first year but traveling with the team—kind of getting my foot in the door a little bit—and then for the next four years, I ended up starting left tackle, and just honing my craft and working on being a reliable offensive lineman,” he said.
Along the way, Hermanns also became a father and a husband. Finally, last year, his dream of playing football professionally became a reality.
“I ended up signing an undrafted deal with the Jets and going to New York,” he said. “The Jets actually elevated me three times, after some injuries at tackle. I played in two of the games, and then after the third time, because they couldn’t elevate me more, they cut me.”
Fortunately, it was not long before a new opportunity came along with the Miami Dolphins.
“It’s surreal,” Hermanns said. “It really is. It’s amazing.”
He just started with the team this past week and hopes to continue growing with them throughout the season.
“I can get elevated again, so getting elevated a couple more times this year, seeing how things go potentially earning a spot in the actual 53-man roster,” Hermanns said. “If I bring it, and I show these guys that I can ball out against their ones, then I’ll have an opportunity to eventually become a one, become a starter.”
No matter how far the game takes him, Hermanns said one thing will never change.
“I will always be a New Mexico kid.”
“I’m just so grateful and thankful for the people supporting me,” he added. “What you see now is not just me. There’s hundreds of people who are holding me up. I’m standing on their shoulders because of all the work and all the time they invested into me to be where I’m at.”