Tony Grimes Has Reclassified: What That Means for UNC

Jonah Lossiah

Tony Grimes, the gem of UNC’s 2021 class, has decided to make the jump to college a year early.

Grimes, a 5-star cornerback from Virginia Beach, has been debating the decision to reclassify to 2020 all summer. This was a big reason that he decided to move his decision from December 1st to June 30th.

The impetus behind this move came from the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Grimes and his father, Deon Glover, have been closely monitoring the situation surrounding Virginia’s high school sports season. After another delay in the state’s announcement, Grimes has decided to end the waiting.

This has been an option for Grimes. He only had one government class left until he could graduate from Princess Anne High School. His initial plan was to enroll in classes at Chapel Hill in January but knew he could reclassify if sports in VA were cancelled or postponed.

How This Affects 2020

Grimes is a fantastic athlete, but he is also very young. With another year to train, add strength, and refine his craft, there would be no question that he would walk onto campus expecting to start. That still could be the case, but it will be a lot more difficult. Though cornerback has been a position of need for the Tar Heels, they still have several players in those positions.

Trey Morrison, Carolina’s best corner last year, is returning. Patrice Rene is another starter that will be back after earning a medical redshirt. Storm Duck will be a true sophomore who was forced into more playing time than expected last year. UNC is also benefiting from transfers Bryce Watts from Virginia Tech and Kyler McMichael from Clemson, who both sat out last season and are ready to play. Due to the number of injuries in the secondary, many players had to step up. Obi Egbuna and DeAndre Hollins were also underclassmen that were put through the fire last season.

In terms of potential, Grimes is the most highly touted prospect among these players. However, the transition to the college game could be abrupt. Not only is he missing a year high school ball, but he was hasn’t benefit from any spring training in Chapel Hill. However, that is something many players sharing going into the 2020 season. Luckily, Grimes is a workout warrior who has been busy with personal trainers.

The first two months on campus will be critical from Grimes. If he adjusts to the speed of both academics and football, he has a good chance of making an immediate impact for North Carolina. However, if it takes longer than he hopes, then he and his coaches will need to look at all the options.

There is the possibility of redshirting. Traditionally, a player has four games to decide. However, Grimes decision has come shortly after the announcement that the ACC plans to play a conference-only football schedule. If this will impact the redshirt policy is yet to be seen. Depending on just how he adapts to college life, Grimes could plan to redshirt even earlier. But that isn’t the plan right now. Grimes and his father think that he can instantly add to this team.

A piece that no longer will be debated is that Tony Grimes will be in Chapel Hill. He had said when he committed that he was done with the recruiting process. That doesn’t mean that the other top schools that were close to landing Grimes would’ve stopped calling though. He might’ve taking a few more visits, but that’s not even in the conversation anymore.

Officially, Grimes will be removed from the 2021 class and into 2020. This will drop UNC's No. 3 rankings of 2021 and raise its No. 19 ranking for 2020. It will be interesting exactly how they will grade Grimes was a reclassified prospect, but at the end of the day these are all just numbers.

This decision makes so much sense for Tony and his family. With time winding down, the last thing they wanted to do was miss a year of football and be left waiting. Given the amount of talent that Grimes’ possesses, there is a chance that this decision could even get him to the NFL a year earlier.

Grimes has the physical tools to compete already. There are plenty of options to look at now, but it will be a day-by-day process. All of a sudden, Dré Bly doesn’t have to wait to start training his star recruit. With Bly’s leadership and the base that he has built, Grimes could very well make the leap and become a huge asset right of the gate.

There is one thing that is certain amongst all of this: Tony Grimes is going to thoughtfully weigh out the possibilities and do what is best for him. 

Comments (3)
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Quierra Luck
Quierra Luck


I think with this move, Carolina has the opportunity to really mold him into a crazy athlete for the 2021 season.