Brandon Grady was a 6-foot-3, 360-pound offensive lineman at Greensboro College who was frustrated with the football road he was going down.
“I was overweight. College football didn’t really go that well for me personally,” Grady said.
He did something about it.
“I rededicated myself to the game,” Grady said.
They meant juicing — mixing fruits and vegetables in a blender two or three times day. He worked out daily, sometimes going to the gym three or four times a day.
Soon, he will be coming to the Green Mountains to play football for the Vermont Bucks as a 315-pound lineman. He is a football player in a new body and he is serious about this opportunity with the Bucks as a path to a higher level of football.
The Vermont Bucks is an arena team and Grady is familiar with the wide open 8-man game. He played it with the Carolina Wildcats, a team based in High Point, North Carolina.
“I did not actually try out for the Bucks. I am assuming they heard about me through my agent,” Grady said.
“I have never been to Vermont before. I am excited about it.”
Grady has spoken to Vermont Bucks head coach Jeff Porter a few times and he has been impressed.
“I really like him. He is very friendly and open which is unusual in a head coach,” Grady said.
Grady is from California originally.
“I came to the East Coast because of a woman,” he said of his girlfriend Mariah.
Mariah was a student at Bennett College, also in Greensboro.
He has had his eye on the Bucks for about a year, having followed them last season.
“I really like the team and the organization,” he said.
He is also enthused about the potential rivalry with the first-year Vermont Brew, a team whose home games will be in Middlebury.
“I am excited to see how that plays out,” he said.
The Vermont teams are scheduled to play twice, April 18 and May 9.
But his main goal, like so many arena players, is to move up the football ladder.
“I am 100 percent looking at the Arena League as a launching pad,” Grady said. “The biggest goal is the NFL but I would take the CFL if I could get it and I am excited about the XFL now that it is back.”
The Bucks have 27 players under contract at this time and Porter said they might sign a few more before camp opens around March 15.
There are names on the team already familiar to some Vermont football fans including Jack Leclair who played quarterback for the Bucks last year and is formerly with the University of Vermont club football team. He played football at Colchester High School.
There are several former Vermont Ravens, a semipro team in Barre. Those include D’Eric O’Neal, Ray Rose and Brett Walton who also played for Norwich University.
Jordan O’Grady is an offensive lineman from South Burlington, Doug Saffo, a receiver from St. Albans and Jordan Goodrich who was a tight end for Essex and Castleton University.
“We wanted to make it a Vermont team and fill in as needed. We were able to accomplish that goal,” Porter said.
The Bucks expect to open their season at the Collins-Perley Sports Center in St. Albans against an unknown opponent on April 4. The Vermont Brew opens on March 28 at home in Middlebury against the Mass Effect.