There are great expectations that come with being the nation’s No. 6 prep player, and the second-highest ranked recruit for a power five program.
For North Carolina cornerback Tony Grimes, 2020 was supposed to be an acclimation year. Skipping his senior year of high school to enroll early, Grimes was brought on slowly, with good reason. Yet when he was given his chance, Grimes proved that he was more than ready to play at the collegiate level.
On November 14, 2020, Grimes was brought in the third quarter against Wake Forest. Ironically, the young freshman was inserted into the game to stabilize a secondary unit that was being dissected by Demon Deacon quarterback Sam Hartman and his wide receivers.
It was no coincidence that the Tar Heels defense started forcing turnovers and punts upon his arrival in the game. Though he finished the game two solo tackles, his presence made a dramatic difference, which inevitably led to their 59–53 win. The young man that was supposed to get acclimated to the game played 29 snaps.
In remaining weeks, Grimes would see his snaps increase as he continued to developed. His true potential was in full display at the 2021 Capital One Orange Bowl against the Texas A&M Aggies, where he put on a show. He was a factor in a multitude of ways, creating pressures, breaking up passes, and even registering a sack on then-quarterback Kellen
Despite the outcome, Grimes gave everyone a glimpse into the future as he evolved player with natural playmaking abilities. Now that he has graduated from his acclimation year, Grimes is poised to show that he has the goods to be among the best in the nation at his position.