A name we are all very familiar with here in Somerset is the Grundy name.
This name is associated with Briar Jumper baseball for obvious reasons. Phil Grundy was a legendary pitcher for Somerset and even went on to pitch in a College World Series for Western Carolina University and got drafted by the Kanas City Royals in 1993. Phil is now the current head baseball coach for the Jumpers. Recently his eldest son, Kross, graduated from Somerset and was quite the baseball player himself. Then of course, current Somerset senior, Kade Grundy, is a top baseball recruit and has been committed to the University of Louisville since the eighth grade.
Everyone knows Kade Grundy is a baseball player and an extremely talented one. So talented that his pitching seems to overshadow the fact that he is also a truly dominant player on a state championship winning football team.
Not just any dominant, but 1441 receiving yards and 15 receiving touchdowns last season dominant. He came in at sixth in the Kentucky receiving yardage leaderboard and tied for sixth in receiving touchdowns last year as well. He could be due for an even stronger showing this upcoming season.
With one final year of high school football, Kade is setting the bar very high for himself and his teammates. “It’s crazy to think that I’m a senior,” said Grundy. “My high school career has gone by in a blink of an eye, but I’m coming into this season with high expectations and I believe I speak for most of my teammates that we are one of the best teams in the entire state and the best in 2A.”
While Kade was adamant that they will be a force on the football field come September 11th, he did acknowledge some concerns as well. “Coming into this season as defending champs, it’s going to be different,” said Grundy. “Going to have a big target on our backs and every team is going to have their best games against us and we don’t have room for error. But, we lost 24 seniors of our team last year and we have a lot of new faces in our locker room and we have to get everyone on the same page and get our team chemistry to where it was last year. We will be ready come week one.”
The amazing thing about Kade being so outstanding on the football field is that he gets limited practice too. Throughout the years he has missed a lot of practice and even some regular season games due to summer baseball and baseball events.
When asked about how the football team manages him missing some preparation time, head Somerset football coach Robbie Lucas says “It’s pretty simple. The kid has been a Division I athlete in baseball with an offer from Louisville as an eighth grader…It just tells you the type of competitor he is. We take him when we can get him. We understand how much time he can put in and can’t. Baseball comes first. I don’t have an issue with that, and neither do the other coaches. Kade is very good about catching up when he can get there…We’re not really worried about that. He keeps himself in good shape. He’s always competing. We’ll take him when we can get him.”
Grundy also commented on how he manages with limited football practice. “During summer baseball I’m not home very much, but when I am, I make sure to go to the football field or the gym and get shots up,” said Grundy. “I do everything I can to be ready for whatever sport is coming up. I’ve been playing three sports since I can remember, and I’ve gotten used to putting my body through whatever I need to in order to be the best athlete and teammate I can be.”
While Grundy has been a playmaker on the football field since his freshman year, coach Lucas shared some on how he has grown into the football player he is now. “His freshman and sophomore year he was more worried about catches and numbers and things like that,” said coach Lucas. “In his junior year, I saw Kade grow up a little bit. Kade fit into a team concept. He willingly accepted that. He played corner and Dearious Smith from LCA was the state’s leading receiver. We go into that first game where we lose by one and I think he held him to maybe one catch the entire game… We were able to lock him down and Kade wanted that. He came to us and asked for that. He’s been physical. He’s had some good tackles. He’s been more than we though he would be. Not that he can’t, but it takes a lot of sacrifice to do what he did last year. Kade was not the best punter we ever put on the field and he’ll tell you that. It’s not something he enjoys, but he also knows, and we also know that he faked about four punts last year that were the difference in games…You’re seeing a kid that really expanded himself just beyond being a receiver worried about numbers and he became a true football player. I’m very proud of him.”
Grundy also shared a bit about his growth as a football player too. He and Lucas shared similar responses on his growth.
“My growth as a football player has been crazy,” said Grundy. “I came in late as a freshman because I didn’t know if I was going to play football or not, and I can’t even explain how happy I am that I decided to put my gold head gear one. As a freshman, I wasn’t all about playing defense. All I wanted to do was catch footballs and score touchdowns, but as my career has gone on, I enjoy defense. Also, as a freshman, I wasn’t vocal in any of my sports. But playing football underneath the lights has made me grow into a bigger person and a man. I want to set an example of what a good leader and teammate should be to freshman and sophomores and kids that watch out games from the sidelines.”
It is obvious through the comments made by coach Lucas, and Grundy himself that he has grown into not only an outstanding football player, but a great team leader.
Coach Lucas was asked to give one word to describe Grundy and he said “Competitor.” Lucas then added on “He’ll compete. I’ve never timed him in a forty so I don’t know how fast he is, but I think he’s as fast as the guy next to him. As fast as he has to be is what he does. He’ll compete at anything whether it’s throwing the ball, whether it’s catching the ball, he competes at everything. I love his competitive spirit. Like I said, this past year, on both sides of the ball, and all three phases of the game, I think that’s what he became, a competitor.”
As a senior on a team that lost so many players to graduation, Grundy, who was already the main target in the passing game on offense, could see an even bigger jump in production. He alone makes the Briar Jumper offense lethal and putting him with the other athletes that Somerset has, they look to do some damage in 2A Kentucky football once again.
On September 11th, the Somerset Briar Jumpers travel to Whitley County High School to face the Colonels on their turf. We will get to see just how dangerous Grundy can be. You will not want to miss out on that.