The COVID-19 pandemic ended Brentwood High School two-sport athlete Cade Granzow’s 2020 baseball season early, but the rising senior took it as an opportunity to improve and prepare.
Granzow’s preceding football season saw him lead the Bruins to an undefeated Region 5 6A record (5-0) in the regular season and 8-2 overall. It also ended in disappointment after the Bruin signal caller sustained a shoulder injury and concussion early in a 38-6 loss to eventual 6A runner-up Ravenwood High School in the TSSAA state quarterfinal.
Granzow won a total of 10 games under center in 2019 and threw for 1,972 yards, 17 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. He also added 553 yards on the ground with another 15 touchdowns.
The disappointing loss to end the football season and the cancellation of the baseball season has Granzow, currently committed to Auburn University as a pitcher, looking to make himself the best athlete possible.
“You know it’s sad, not having a baseball season and I was upset about that, but God does everything for a reason, and I can’t control that,” he said. “That happened, I accepted it and my next step was what do I do? How do I respond to this? My response was to work out as much as I possibly can to get faster and stronger.”
Working out during quarantine proved to be relatively easy for Granzow, who had access to all the weight and exercise equipment he in his garage.
His father, Judd, has trained a number of high school, collegiate and professional athletes over the years and currently serves as coach of the Brentwood freshman football team.
Judd got drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers out of high school and played linebacker at the University of Tennessee in 1998-99.
“He knows what he is doing, and it’s a great resource to have and a blessing that my dad knows all this stuff and I can get better during this time,” Granzow said. “He knows what I’m supposed to eat, the nutrition, what lifts I’m supposed to be doing each week, it’s like having a personal trainer at home. It’s a great resource to have and am very thankful for my dad.”
One thing that hasn’t come easy is recruiting. Granzow remains firmly committed to Auburn, but he's keeping his options open, looking for a place where he can play both baseball and football. Granzow said it’s been tough to develop a close relationship with a prospective coach over the phone.
“You don’t get to develop a personal relationship with a coach,” he said. “Now, it’s just FaceTime and on the phone, but they’re doing the best they can with it.”
Most recently on the recruiting front, Granzow posted on Twitter on May 13 that he received a football scholarship from the United States Air Force Academy, making it his eighth. A post from April 9 stated he received a scholarship offer from Middle Tennessee State University.
His football coach, Ron Crawford, sang his praises for how he's handling the situation at hand.
"Cade is a tremendous two-sport athlete here at BHS, he is a leader in the hallway and on the field," Crawford said. "I can't speak for him, but I know all our baseball players were disappointed they lost their season. Knowing Cade, I am sure he continued to train as we communicated workouts and he is an individual that will always do extra."
Granzow and his team along with other teams around the state got back to a little bit of normalcy when the TSSAA allowed teams to return to workouts on Monday, following certain guidelines.
The Brentwood quarterback and team captain said it was nice to be back with his teammates despite things being different, thanks to the social distancing and safety regulations.
Granzow said that Brentwood players are separated in groups of eight for weight training and conditioning. This way each player gets his own rack of weights to use and they remain at least 6 feet apart. He said the racks are wiped down thoroughly after each group finishes their reps for the next group enters.
The signal caller talked about how strange the new normal can be.
“It’s definitely weird and odd as is the first season of seeing something like this in sports,” he said. “It’s new, and I feel our guys are really responding to it well. We’ve got to make the most of what we’ve got right now. It’s tough, but at the end of the day we just want to play football…We just want to play because we love the sport, and it means so much to our guys.”
With the prohibition of any real football work contact drills, it’s been incumbent upon Granzow and his teammates to find ways to work on routes and timing with his receivers on their own. Granzow said he believes the teams that can put in the extra work will find success next season.
Though, the dual-threat quarterback wants to be back on the field playing right now.
“If it is player-led, you can get some extra work in,” Granzow said. "I am already watching MBA film, I want to play the game right now…It’s just the little extra stuff that separates people from being good, and we’re good, and we want to be great. That’s what it’s going to take to win a state championship.”
Brentwood football host Montgomery Bell Academy on Aug. 21.