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Kettle Run’s John Grammo accepts football scholarship from Shepherd University

Wednesday, Jul. 23 | By Brandon Hartman
Kettle Run offensive lineman John Grammo will play football next season at Shepherd University. --Fauquier Times Staff Photo/Randy Litzinger
Recent Kettle Run graduate John Grammo accepted a football scholarship to play next season for the Shepherd University Rams in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

“It’s been my dream to play college ball,” the 6-foot-2, 285-pound stalwart offensive lineman said. “Being paid (on scholarship) to play football and go to school, what can be better than that? Ever since I was six years old this has been the goal, and to reach it means so much.”

The Rams are an NCAA Division II team in the Mountain East Conference, which fields teams from West Virginia, Virginia and Ohio.

By signing with Shepherd, Grammo became the third Kettle Run player this year to commit to or accept a scholarship from an NCAA team.

KRHS junior Abu Kai Kai verbally committed to East Carolina University in April and junior David Eldridge verbally committed to the University of Virginia in May.

The recent run of college bound-players continued to highlight the success of coach ch Jeff Lloyd's program, which began when the school opened in 2008.

Lloyd guided a fledgling football program to two state semifinal appearances and a pair of regional championships, but preparing players for the next level is his favorite feat.

“It’s the 25 student athletes of mine who have moved on to play at the college level that I am most proud of, without a doubt,” Lloyd said. “The regional and state victories are always great, but setting up our football players for the next phase is a huge priority of ours and something we help them out with.”

Grammo began his career as a 6-year-old playing Pop Warner Football. He asserted himself by earning a starting spot on the Kettle Run offensive line as a sophomore that year and went on to anchor a unit that helped the Cougars advance to three consecutive region semifinals.

As a senior in 2013, Grammo, who played guard, made the all-Conference 27 first team and the all-3A East Region second team.

“John deserves everything good coming his way right now,” Lloyd said. “He is easily one of the strongest and toughest kids I have ever coached. He was a weight-room guy and worked his butt off.”

Grammo’s recruitment resume boasts a 305-pound bench press and 450-pound squat.

“He really is a tough guy,” Lloyd said. “I know that is a term thrown around and used a lot by football coaches but I really mean it in this case.”

Grammo, for example, broke three toes while on vacation prior to his junior season, but played through the pain.

“Most guys can’t play with one broken toe, let alone three, but Grammo never missed a practice or even complained,” Lloyd said. “His work ethic and grit was outstanding.”

Grammo will bring those qualities to Shepherd.

His first scholarship offer came from U.Va.-Wise, a Mountain East rival of the Rams. He felt tempted to commit early to Wise, but Shepherd offered more money and appeared to be a better program, Grammo said.

Shepherd finished 11-1 last season and just two wins away from the NCAA D-II National Championship game. That helped persuade Grammo to sign on the dotted line.

“Won a lot of their games pretty convincingly,” Grammo said. “They won their conference and are looking to do take the next step.

“I’ve been told by the coaches that if I work hard I can get on the bus and not be redshirted next year,” Grammo said. “So I’m excited to possibly have a role to play early on.”

Shepherd head coach Monte Cater said the Rams are retooling after their championship run came up short. The offensive line looks like an area of need.

“We lost most of the defensive line but also two from the offensive line, making it a key spot when we did our recruiting,” Cater said. “We’re excited to have John Grammo because he can come in right away and help out. We think he’s going to have a great time here and will play for us a long time. He’s a great talent.”

Lloyd said Grammo could transition from guard to center for the Rams.

Grammo will head to Shepherd on Aug. 16 for training camp as the Rams prepare for their season-opener Sept. 6, when they will take on West Liberty.

While Grammo prepares to embark on the next step of his football career, he’ll never forget his time as a Kettle Run Cougar.

“I’m going to miss it,” the Warrenton native said. “It was amazing to play on such great teams and for a great coach. We had so many good years and made great memories. It was fun.”

Lloyd, naturally, will keep an eye on Grammo in college, as he has done for all of his former players.

“He’s going to do great,” Lloyd said. “I’m looking forward to following Shepherd over the next few seasons to see John do well.”

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