A high school sophomore with nearly two dozen scholarship offers already, Tony Grimes is one of the nation’s top prospects in the class of 2021. In fact, the Virginia Beach (Va.) Princess Anne standout is considered the No. 1 cornerback in the country for his class by 247Sports.
With a slew of major programs pursuing him early in the recruiting process, Grimes decided to go ahead and trim down his list last week when he announced a top 15 that included Clemson along with Alabama, Auburn, Maryland, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Texas A&M, TCU, North Carolina, Virginia and Virginia Tech.
“For the next 2 years we will be focusing and evaluating these programs in detail,” Grimes wrote in a post on Twitter.
Grimes (6-1, 180) visited Clemson for the NC State game at Death Valley last October, and The Clemson Insider recently caught up with him about his interest in the Tigers.
“Clemson University is a college that builds you into a better person and puts you in the league if you’re willing to go that far,” Grimes said. “On my visit I enjoyed myself and I really had a good chance to tour the facilities and talk to the academics. Coach Swinney really got the football program and the players on a good path to success and I love their success they have had so far.
“I put Clemson in my top choices because I could really see myself playing there and I want to learn more about the program to see if it’s a fit for me.”
Added Grimes: “Clemson has one of the top engineering programs in the country as well. Combination of great top-tier in the academics and athletes, also great coaching stability.”
The interest between Grimes and Clemson is certainly mutual. According to Grimes, defensive coordinator Brent Venables is very intrigued by his ability as a corner.
“Coach Venables, I love the way he recruits me. He comes in the area and talks highly about me to my coach,” Grimes said. “Coach V told my coach that he loves my size and how I play. Also coach said he likes the way I can flip my hips in transition and run most importantly.”
There’s a long way to go in Grimes’ recruitment, which is sure to be a battle, and Grimes said he has “no idea” when he will further narrow things down. However, Grimes knows exactly what he is looking for in his future school of choice.
“The things that are important to me is being confident that I have made the right decision,” Grimes said. “I don’t want to end up in the transfer portal because something didn’t work out. It’s important to know that the program I sign with is just as crazy about me as I am with them.
“Staff stability is important to me. … Clemson has a stable staff from the head on down. Coach Venables could have left plenty of times for a head coaching job, but he is still there. That tells me a lot about Clemson.”
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