Tony Grimes just recently settled on the fact he was going to remain a 2021 prospect and not graduate early to reclassify to the 2020 recruiting class.
That’s because the future of high school football in Virginia was no longer in doubt. There does seem like a path for his Princess Anne football team in Virginia Beach to play the 2020 season.
The 5-star recruit was able to take just one visit to Georgia earlier this year before National Signing Day for the 2020 class back in February.
It was an impactful trip for the Bulldogs and the Grimes family. Georgia was basically hanging on by a thread as one of his top 12 schools prior to that trip. Grimes shared the reasons why with DawgNation in a lengthy conversation here.
The Bulldogs quickly moved up as one of the core teams in his recruitment off that one trip.
Georgia and North Carolina should be seen as the primary contenders. Especially with the revamped timeline.
Texas A&M has the most early momentum in this recruitment. They were also the first school to secure a future official visit prior to the pandemic. But the Aggies did lose substantial built-up relationship equity when former DBs coach Maurice Linguist took a similar position at the first of the year with the Dallas Cowboys.
Ohio State has an impressive track record of sending cornerbacks to the NFL as first-round draft picks, but the staff recently brought Kerry Combs back from the NFL to serve as defensive backs coach and defensive coordinator. Combs returned to Ohio State in late January.
The 5-star has already planned an official visit that was going to be earlier this month to UGA. That was the official that Grimes and his father told DawgNation the Bulldogs had earned after that one trip to Athens earlier this year.
He was set to take part in a 7-on-7 Tournament in Atlanta on the weekend of March 15. There was a trip planned to see Georgia and Georgia Tech on that same weekend with a few of his 7-on-7 teammates.
“Of course we want to visit Georgia more,” his father Deon Glover said back in March. “We love it. We love the coaches there. We talk to them all the time. I want to visit the program more with Tony to kind of get around the team a little bit. See the camaraderie and see how it all flows with being around them.”
That was important back then. Even with that Dec. 1 deadline way down the road.
“We’ve been to enough schools to say ‘Hey if push came to shove and we need to make a decision now we can make a decision now’ and we’ve been to enough schools multiple times to be able to say that,” Glover said. “At least with the schools we like. We’ve been multiple times. With the exception of Georgia.”
They were about to do all the due diligence and research necessary to fix that.
“What’s going on at Georgia is elite mimic energy that you see in Clemson and some of the other top programs,” Glover said back in March. “With the program itself. We learned a lot when we were down there the first time and of course, we were going to go back this time in March and go back again in April.”
“We had an official visit set up for June 12. We had put the gas in there with Georgia. Trying to get as much as we can about Georgia in a short period of time. But with those other schools, we have already got enough information on them. For real.”
North Carolina looms as a major contender here because that relationship is much more developed over the last year. While Georgia has really been a surging school in this recruitment since January, the Tar Heels have been more of a constant.
UNC has a top 5 national recruiting class and a lot of momentum. The Tar Heels have former Virginia Beach star Dre’ Bly on staff as his recruiter of record. Bly went from a Tidewater area prep star to a two-time All-American at cornerback in Chapel Hill.
He then spent 11 seasons in the NFL. Bly is now the defensive backs coach at UNC and his ties to Grimes and his family are strong and have been well-developed.
But can they offer what Georgia can? That’s a legit question.
Georgia has the edge in facilities, roster depth and also national reputation. The Bulldogs also have a defensive-minded head coach who played that same position at Georgia and a developing pipeline of sending defensive backs to the NFL.
The Bulldogs have a recent Jim Thorpe Award winner and their 2020 secondary is flush with anywhere from two to five cornerbacks who could be leaving for the NFL after this season.
That certainly creates an envious playing time situation for a program seeking to sign the nation’s No. 1 cornerback prospect in back-to-back recruiting cycles. If Georgia can pair up Grimes with 5-star freshman signee Kelee Ringo, that would be quite a tandem for SEC offenses to deal with in Athens.
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