The Daily Pennsylvanian sat down with Penn sprint football's Brandon Graves — who earned the Collegiate Sprint Football League Rookie of the Week award in his debut performance last weekend — to ask 15 questions about his time on the team so far, his week one heroics, and his future on the team. Here's what the freshman wide receiver had to say.
1. Could you please introduce yourself briefly?
Brandon Graves, Class of '26. I'm from North Delaware.
2. What motivated you to join Penn sprint football?
Penn, of course, is one of the best schools in the world, which is why I wanted to come here. I wasn't too sure if I wanted to play sports in college. Once I found out about Penn sprint football though, I thought I could do both at the same time, so why not?
3. How has the transition been for you from being a high school to now a college athlete?
Yeah, there's definitely an adjustment period. High school was a slower pace than here. But I think I've adjusted well, and it's worked so far.
4. As a freshman, how do you manage academics with practice? Is it easier because of the adjustment period you mentioned?
Yeah. I feel like the coaches are really motivating, especially for academics. I have study hall for six hours a week, so there's definitely time to study and make sure your academics are taken care of.
5. That leads me on to my next question: how has your experience with the coaches and the upperclassmen been so far?
I like them so far. I think they're really helping me get better, whether it's on the field or in the class. I feel like the upperclassmen are really getting to know me, and I'm getting to know them. They're helping me out with things like what route I'm running, or just in general.
6. How did you prepare for your first game for Penn?
First game, I just listened to music and went through the game plan for the day. As an athlete, I just go out there and do what I know how to do.
7. What was the atmosphere like? Did you feel any nerves?
Yes, I definitely was nervous. I think anyone would be on their first time going out on a stage like that. But I enjoyed it, once I got over my jitters. I felt like I've been doing this my whole life. I love that my parents were there and that we had a good crowd out there.
8. We saw your incredible chemistry with Paolini throughout the game. Was that something that you practiced beforehand or was it more spontaneous and natural?
We started out trying to hammer it out in practice in the weeks leading up to the game. I think me and him, we really bonded and connected during training camp, and he's a great quarterback. He's putting the ball in the right spots for me to catch.
9. I think I already know the answer to this, but what was your highlight of the game?
(Laughs) The highlight of the game was probably my second touchdown. It was kind of crazy. I didn't really expect it, but that was definitely my highlight.
10. How did it feel to put on such an impressive display and that highlight reel catch in your first game?
It felt amazing. I showed the rest of the league what I can do. I just want to improve on that every game and get better.
11. By the way, congratulations on the CSFL Rookie of the Week award. What does that honor mean to you?
I'm just going to go back to [the fact] that someone's watching what I'm doing. At the same time, it was kind of humbling. I made some good plays, but there were also some moments where I could improve, so I'm just going to keep working at it.
12. Does a performance like that put any pressure on you for the next few games?
No, I think, at least not to me. I think I'm just going to do what I know I can do. I don't think that's really pressure on me. I'm not really going out to win individual awards, although that would be nice. I'm going out there to do the best I can do so that the team can win.
13. What are your personal goals for your rookie season?
That's a good question. I want to go out there and get 12 touchdowns this season. Lead the team in that and maybe total yards for the season. That'd be nice.
14. Do you think this team can win the CSFL title this year, which Penn hasn't done since 2016?
Yeah, of course. We really got a strong group of guys here. We are young, but I think that's also an advantage. We got some guys that really know what they're doing and are studying the plays quite hard. I think we can pull it together and make it happen.
15. How do you see the next four years playing out for you at Penn?
I think I'm going to have a really fun time. Apart from on the football field, I can grow socially and academically, get a good education, and make connections on and off the field. On Friday nights and Saturdays, I can have fun on the football field.