Heel Tough Blog: Tony Grimes Officially Reclassifies to 2020 Class


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The Tar Heels’ first 5✮ commit since 2009, Tony Grimes announced some major news on Twitter earlier this afternoon. After announcing his commitment to the program’s 2021 class back on June 30th, the Virginia Beach native confirmed that he will forego his senior season at Princess Anne High School and reclassify to the Tar Heels 2020 class.


This is something that has been in the works for the better part of the past month. Grimes had put himself in position to graduate in December and early enroll in January, but with the VHSL strongly considering postponing or even canceling the 2020 high school football season, Grimes went ahead and signed up for his final class. Now, he is on track to graduate in a few weeks and, as he said in his post earlier today, will officially enroll at Carolina on August 1st.


This could be a huge addition for the Tar Heels ahead of the 2020 season. There’s a reason that Grimes has been receiving attention for FBS programs since he was in middle school. When you throw on his film, it’s hard to think that Grimes won’t come in and immediately challenge for a role at corner because of just how polished his game is for a senior in high school. As we learned last year, the Tar Heels’ defensive scheme thrives best when it’s corners can thrive in one-on-one coverage and that is exactly what Grimes does. His best reps on tape come when he is in press-man coverage, in part because of how smooth he can open his hips up to turn and run with receivers. Grimes’ ball skills are another strength for him as he uses his hands well and he has the closing speed to make plays that will also allow him to thrive in both man and zone coverage situations. He is a solid tackler that has shown he can help in the run game if needed.


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The talent is there, but the question is, can he navigate the more experienced players ahead of him. Senior Patrice Rene will be hard to unseat after he decided to return for his fifth season after losing last year to an ACL injury and sophomore Storm Duck really impressed a year ago and will have a one year advantage in the system over Grimes. Behind those two guys, though, there is not nearly the experience, giving Grimes to still earn a significant rotational role. Both him and Kyler McMichael, a former Clemson transfer who had to sit out the 2019 season after transferring, will likely be the favorites to earn reps on the outside this fall behind Rene and Duck.


With the addition of Grimes to the 2020 class, the class moves up to 12th in the Composite Rankings for 2020 cycle and jumps them up to 2nd in the ACC for the cycle. The team 2021 class does drop, but only one spot to 4th, and the class still remains ranked 2nd in the ACC the cycle.