Charlotte 49ers Grant DuBose making most of ‘amazing’ opportunity at 2023 Senior Bowl

Jonathan Aguallo

Charlotte 49ers receiver Grant DuBose ran a fade route to the back right corner of the end zone on Thursday.

The 6-foot-2, 204-pound receiver got a step on Iowa cornerback Riley Moss and extended his arms as a pass from BYU’s Jaren Hall floated in the air. DuBose used the entirety of his wing span to haul in the ball for a touchdown before falling to the ground to complete the 7-on-7 play.

The catch by DuBose drew a collective “wow” gasp from the crowd at the Senior Bowl.

And that reaction is exactly why DuBose is in Mobile, Alabama. He’s looking to “wow” spectators — from fans to scouts to NFL coaches — with his play.

“It’s been amazing,” DuBose said Wednesday following the National team’s second practice of Senior Bowl week . “Coming out here with some of the best of the best. Like they say, the draft starts here in Mobile, and to be able to come out here and compete and showcase (my) skill set among the best have been amazing, for sure.”

DuBose was a late addition to the Senior Bowl roster last week due to a change of heart about his football future.

Following this past season with the 49ers, DuBose decided to enter the transfer portal to spend his final season elsewhere. But after thinking things through and receiving advice from those he trusts, DuBose changed his mind and took the professional route.

“After the season ended, my intentions were to go to the transfer portal and come back another year,” DuBose said. “And I sat on it, I thought on it for a while — a lot of prayer — took some outside opinions from people within my circle, took their opinions into consideration, but ultimately it was my decision. And one morning I woke up, it was kind of like a light bulb went off and I felt like I was ready. Here I am today.”

DuBose, a Montgomery, Alabama, native, started his college career at Miles College in Fairfield, Alabama, in 2019. He then transferred to Charlotte in 2021, spending two seasons with the 49ers.

During his two-year stint in the Queen City, DuBose caught 126 passes for 1,684 yards and 15 touchdowns.

DuBose scored nine touchdowns last season, which tied a program record. His 15 combined touchdowns rank him third all-time in program history, and he produced that total in just 24 games with the 49ers.

Those impressive numbers caught the attention of Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy and his scouting team, which ultimately led to his invitation to Mobile.

“My life kind of did a 180 overnight, but it’s what I worked toward, it’s no surprise,” DuBose said. “Just always needed my opportunity, and once I got my opportunity, it was no looking back.”

Now, with his eyes on the NFL, DuBose hopes to follow in the footsteps of those who came before him. He is just the third 49er to be invited to the Senior Bowl.

Defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi participated in the 2017 Senior Bowl and guard Nate Davis played in the all-star game in 2019. Both ended up going in the third round of their respective draft classes.

Ogunjobi and Davis — along with standout pass rusher Alex Highsmith — have raised the NFL profile of the program. DuBose wants to be the next professional example in a small but successful line.

He also appreciates the support from his 49ers teammates and the program’s fan base.

“It’s mean a lot,” DuBose said. “Charlotte doesn’t have a rich history of guys going to the league, and it’s an up-and-coming program. But to be one of those select few who has taken that next step in the journey to get to the next level, it’s been amazing. And to have those guys behind me, it’s like a small brotherhood, a small fraternity. So I really appreciate it, and hopefully I can lead the way for future 49ers that want to get to this level.”

DuBose has spent the past few days being coached by Cleveland Browns offensive assistant Ashton Grant.

The receiver is getting an early glimpse of what an NFL regular-season work week looks like. While he still has a long road ahead before April’s draft, he is embracing the opportunity that he has been given at the Senior Bowl.

DuBose plans to take the coaching points he received throughout the week and use that new knowledge to shine during the all-star exhibition game on Saturday.

“To get a head start before it actually happens,” DuBose said. “I’m soaking it all in and taking the experience off what it is, for sure.”