Tom Hall had just been named head football coach at Blessed Trinity High School in March 2021 when he received a request from a surprising source.
Former Parade All-American, three-year starter at the University of Georgia and first-round National Football League draft pick Charles Grant wanted to meet with Hall regarding his son. Hall was more than happy to oblige. After all, it’s not every day you get the chance to coach the offspring of someone like Grant, who spent nine years as an NFL defensive end and is a Super Bowl champion.
“He was contemplating moving his son from Louisiana, where he had been attending a small Catholic school there,” Hall said. “We sat down and had a great conversation.”
The result saw Grant’s outside linebacker son, Kieran Davis, transfer to Blessed Trinity in Roswell, GA, for the 2021 season. It was there the 6-foot-2, 245-pounder caught the attention of East Carolina’s coaching staff after earning second-team All-Region 7 AAAAA honors. That led to a courtship that ended on June 28 with Davis making a verbal commitment to the Pirates.
Air Force, Alabama State, Charlotte, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Grambling, Mercer, Miami of Ohio, Navy, Tulane and UAB also extended offers to Davis. But after narrowing his choices down to Coastal Carolina and the Pirates, Davis chose to wear the purple and gold.
“They were one of his first offers,” Hall said. “He spent a lot of time up there (on visits). I think the thing that stood out with East Carolina for him was the true brotherhood he felt with the players. He really liked the coaching staff and felt they would be involved in his welfare development. I think those were the key components.
“I can tell you in getting Kieran Davis they’ve got a pretty special kid coming their way.”
Davis certainly has a special pedigree.
His father is somewhat of a Georgia prep legend, who was a two-way star at Miller County High School. As a senior in 1997, he matched Hershel Walker’s state single-season record for rushing touchdowns with 45 and tallied 101 scores in his three-year career.
Grant, a 6-3, 290-pounder, earned a scholarship to Georgia where he was a two-year starter and piled up 136 tackles, 27 tackles for loss and 15 sacks before the New Orleans Saints selected him 25th in the 2002 draft. He would spend nine seasons with the Saints, including the 2009 season when New Orleans won Super Bowl XLIV.
Similar to his father, Davis has been a two-way standout since he first made the varsity at St. Edmund High in Eunice, LA, as a freshman. He earned Freshman All-American honors from MaxPreps that year and followed up with an even bigger junior campaign. He racked up 781 yards rushing and eight touchdowns on 120 carries in just eight games during the 2020 season, while also averaging four tackles a game on defense. He received All-District 5 1A and all-state 1A honorable mention honors for those efforts.
Although excited about the prospect of having Davis join his Blessed Trinity squad, Hall was at first uncertain how a junior transfer would blend into new surroundings.
“My first impression, just from looking at him, was he’s a real good-looking kid,” Hall said. “You could tell he’s been no stranger to the weight room. But you just never know how a kid is going to fit in coming in as a junior. He knew a couple of our guys, more as acquaintances than friends. So, I think that helped a little bit.
“But it’s been an amazing thing to watch. He has absolutely become a leader on our football team and in our school. The teachers love him. The administration and coaches love him. He’s got a great personality.
“Just to tell you the kind of kid he is — and he’s a two-way starter for us — if you need someone to go down and shag field goals, he’s the first one to run down there, literally. We have a certain way we keep our locker room. Well, the other night, 30 minutes after everyone else had left, he stayed behind to set up the locker room to show the other kids ‘this is the way we leave it every night.’ He is a great young man and a great leader.”
And not a bad football player either.
“He is a powerful kid,” Hall said. “He’s really tough to handle. He can break down double teams. We’ve played him at outside linebacker, and we’ve played him with his hand on the ground. I think he’s unique, in my opinion.”
So unique that Hall plans to use Davis’s talents at running back this season.
“Kieran is going to be asked to carry the ball this year,” Hall said. “He’s a 240-pound kid coming downhill with great speed, so we’re kind of excited to put the ball in his hands behind our big offensive line. But we have to be smart with him because he’s so important to us defensively. We have to keep him fresh. We can’t expect him to carry the ball 25 times a night.”
Because of Blessed Trinity requirements, Davis won’t graduate early and enroll at ECU in January, according to Hall.