Former Arizona Wildcat Samajie Grant stole the show during his rookie year in Japan and powered the Fujitsu Frontiers to their fourth straight X Bowl Championship. The Frontiers grinded out a 28-26 win over the Panasonic Impulse to win X Bowl XXXIII.
His performance in the game led to him being named X Bowl MVP. After a very rough start to the game, Grant broke a 75-yard touchdown gave the Frontiers a 21-20 and shifted the momentum. He fumbled at the goal line but to his luck it was recovered by his teammate, taking a 28-20 lead. He finished the game with 161 rushing yards
“I did not play a good game tonight,” Grant told the Japan Times. “At the halftime, my teammates came to me and said I’d be OK. My teammates did a great job. This is my first time becoming No. 1 in my football life.”
Grant led the league in rushing with 527 yards, which led to him being named Rookie of the Year and X League MVP.
Just one of four American players on the team, Grant came in to replace the Fujitsu’s starting tailback and 2018 league MVP Trashaun Nixon, who previously came from New Mexico State, but suffered a season ending injury in the spring.
Much like at Arizona, the coaching staff loves his versatility, moving between receiver and running back.
Offensive coordinator Pierre Ingram has said that Grant makes his offense so much more fun and can create a lot of variation. Grant also captivates a lot attention from the defense.
“So it’s not just Samajie,” Ingram told the Japan Times in preparation for the X Bowl. “I think his ability to get attention allows other guys to get open.”
Grant was a workhorse for Arizona, producing all four years. He then had a try out with the Detroit Lions, then had a brief stint with the British Columbia Lions. After training for so long for his next football stop, it’s great to see him thrive in his new role.
“Honestly, I’m in love with Japan,” Grant said.
Next up for the Frontiers will be the Rice Bowl against the university champion Kwansei Gakuin University Fighters in the Tokyo Dome. The Frontiers defeated them last year 52-17 in Japan’s national championship.