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Grady family legacy continues within East Grand Rapids football program

Senior Nathias Grady off to nice start to 2021 season
Nathias Grady
Posted at 9:30 PM, Sep 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-20 23:03:42-04

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — 'Grady' is a last name that won't be forgotten in West Michigan high school football any time soon, especially at East Grand Rapids.

"People say, 'Woah, you're a Grady?'" chuckled Pioneers senior linebacker and fullback, Nathias Grady, "the Grady name is a legacy here but at the same time it's just a last name."

East Grand Rapids' Nathias Grady proving himself

Kevin Grady still has the Michigan High School Football state record in both career rush attempts and career rush yardage after an outstanding four year career at East.

After graduating in 2005, the five-star recruit would go on to sign with the University of Michigan and head coach, Lloyd Carr.

Now, Kevin's younger cousin Nathias Grady is carrying on the family legacy.

"People ask, 'Do you know Kevin?' I'm like 'yeah, that's my cousin'," Nathias laughed.

Pioneers head coach Casey Longo played with Kevin Grady at East Grand Rapids when the team won a pair of state titles in 2002 and 2003.

"He was obviously an incredible player, a great teammate as well and all-around good guy," Longo said about Kevin.

Kelvin Grady
Nathias' younger cousin, Kelvin Grady during the 2006 football season.

Years after Kevin came his younger brother Kelvin, who helped lead East to more state titles in 2006 and 2007 with DeMarcus Grady at quarterback.

While Nathias doesn't remember watching either of his bigger cousins, he has seen film of them.

"I was kind of amazed how fast Kelvin was and how everybody just bounced off of Kevin," Nathias said, "so I was thinking I have to be like them."

Kevin Grady
Michigan High School Football state record holder, Kevin Grady in the 2002 season.

Nathias says his big cousin Kevin has coached him up a bit over the years.

"He's told me to run low and tuck the ball."

Any time people hear the last name 'Grady' at Memorial Field, they know the history and expectations behind it.

Nathias isn't one to shy away from that legacy but he is simply trying to be himself, both on and off the field.

"I love them but I'm like know me, know me for me," Nathias said on when people know him as a Grady.

Nathias Grady
East Grand Rapids senior Nathias Grady.

And Coach Longo says he's hopeful he can put that pressure behind him.

"I hope he's just able to enjoy himself and being the good football player he is," Longo said. "He's a good teammate and should have fun his senior year but I'm sure there's some added pressure knowing that there's been really good athletes in his family that played here as well."

He may not have the gaudy stats that his cousins once had for the Pioneers but he has proven himself as one of the top linebackers in West Michigan. Yet, he hasn't heard from college coaches.

"I want to play in college," Grady said, "I want to have an offer to keep playing football, we still have at least five games left so I'm going to try to play my hardest to get noticed."

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