Posted on

Loran Smith - Van Pran

Van  Pran
By Loran Smith
Van  Pran
By Loran Smith



When Sedrick Van Pran Granger’s pro football career is over, he might very well embark on a second career as an artist. He has a gift for drawing and majored in art at Georgia as an undergraduate.

As an artist, he put considerable thought into whatever he was creating on paper. He was meticulous and introspective. There was no rush to reach the finished product— he wanted his work to reflect that there was meaning and purpose when the end result came about.

In anything with which he has become engaged, the process has been accompanied by patience with a commitment to explore all options and objectives. Calm and studied, his demeanor helped make him the consummate leader on the Georgia football teams, which were extraordinarily successful during his days as a student-athlete, including two national championships and an SEC title.

He grew up in New Orleans, which, like other big cities, had its ills and challenges. He was the beneficiary of good parenting and maintained a close relationship with both of his parents, although they chose to live apart. Each, however, gave the son undivided attention.

That devotion and parental support is not lost on Sedrick, who is now an aspiring offensive lineman for the aspiring Buffalo Bills of the National Football League.

His mother, Keon Van Pran-Wilz, instilled in him the value of an education. His father, Sedrick Granger, provided counsel regarding his football future. Each influence has been pivotal for his development and football career.

Their son has become a thoughtful and compassionate person who cares about his fellow human beings and thanks God daily for his good fortune in life.

However, it has not been easy. Keon has been robbed twice at gunpoint. When Hurricane Katrina overwhelmed New Orleans in 2005, she was forced to move briefly to Baton Rouge with Sedrick, who was scarcely a toddler at the time.

Sedrick’s mother wanted a better life for her son, and she concluded, early on, that he could best find it through education. She was not enthusiastic about football, but the notion that the game could provide her son with a free education was very attractive. She, in fact, was so committed to his schooling that she sometimes stayed up to help him with homework until 2:00 or even 3:00 a.m. before heading to work the next day on three or four hours of sleep.

His mother is a rhythm and blues singer, and some of his fondest memories are of her music. “Mom’s singing is so beautiful,” he smiles. “I can remember her singing me to sleep. Someday, Sedrick hopes to take his mother to a big-time concert to thank her for being such a positive influence on his life. Success in the NFL will enable him to accomplish that objective.

It was his father, Sedrick Granger, continued from page

who indirectly brought about the connection with UGA, a serendipitous moment for which he will forever be grateful. While he and his father were visiting relatives in Marietta in 2018, when Georgia was playing Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl, they were taken by the fight and resolve of the Bulldog team.

“I really appreciated the way Georgia played and so did my dad. When the game was over, he said to me, ‘It would be pretty cool if you got to play for Georgia one day.’ I liked that thought very much,” Sedrick says.

“A couple of months later, Coach Smart invited me to his summer camp. At camp, Georgia made me an offer and then everything fell in place.”

The offensive scrum invigorates Sedrick. As he did in high school, he called the blocking schemes on each play for the Bulldogs. In the heat of competition, he often finds himself immersed completely, analyzing body movements, foot alignment, and signs of fatigue. Being in that state enables him to make split-second decisions that help to keep the offense churning downfield.

His extraordinary leadership meant much to the UGA program, and he is committed to sharing his knowledge to help others less fortunate. He is a shining example of how ambition and humility can coexist in a well-rounded person.

In a phone conversation with him earlier this week at 6:30 a.m.—he was taking a break from studying his playbook—he was upbeat and enthusiastic. “Things are going well,” he said. “I am enjoying the learning experience.” He spends every off-the-field hour, making sure he knows the playbook “backwards and forward.”

“The nuances of the offense are so subtle and important,” he said. Hard work has always been his mantra, which befits the Buffalo community. “This is a blue-collar city, and we try to apply the work ethic in putting a winning team on the field.”

Star quarterback Josh Allen reached out to Sedrick and the other new players on the team as soon as they arrived, trying to make them feel welcomed and comfortable. “He is a special talent,” Van Pran said. “But what I like about him is that he is a good teammate, which made me feel at home. That is one of the things I enjoyed about Coach (Kirby) Smart and Georgia. We won games and championships because we all put the team first.”

Recent Death Notices