Leah Grimes loves, supports and treats her three sons equally, but there has always been something a little extra special and different about her middle child, Trevon.
“I have three sons and each are amazing and talented in their own ways, but, Trevon, I don’t know where he comes from,” said Grimes, a flight nurse with Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.
“He has gifts, amazing talents. I’ve seen him play poker with my family and win the first time he played. I’ve seen him bowl 260 one of the first times he ever bowled. He played baseball and AAU basketball and was great at that. At St. Thomas Aquinas, he ran track as a freshman and as a sophomore and won the state championship in the hurdles both years. But really, since the first time he picked up a football, we knew he was special.”
Trevon’s budding, young, athletic talent is ultimately why the family decided to pick up and move from Indianapolis to the football hotbed of South Florida six years ago. The intent was always to have him grow up here so he could become a football star at St. Thomas Aquinas.
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The decision has clearly paid off. Grimes, who turns 18 on Nov. 28, is ranked the No. 1 high school senior receiver in the country by Rivals.com and the third-best recruit nationally regardless of position. Measuring in at 6-4 1/2 and 205 pounds and timed at 4.46 seconds in the 40-yard dash at The Opening this summer, he’s a quarterback and offensive coordinator’s dream. And soon we’ll know where he will play his college football.
Grimes is set to announce his college choice on Aug. 24. It’s down to Miami, Florida State, Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Ohio State — the school he grew up rooting for and his recruiting leader since his freshman year. It’s also where former NFL star and current analyst Cris Carter, Grimes’ football mentor, went to college.
“My [paternal] grandfather is a pastor down here in Fort Lauderdale,” said Trevon, who was an All-Broward third-team selection last season after he led the Class 7A state champion Raiders with seven touchdown catches and finished fourth on the team with 27 catches for 496 yards.
“He told my dad, ‘If you believe in Tre you should get him down here.’ My dad did the research and decided we were going to move down here so I could go to St. Thomas. He said it was because they’ve sent the most players from high school to the NFL. I didn’t want to go and leave my friends right before middle school, but he said it was in my best interest. Now I know it was.”
Aquinas, the nation’s preseason No. 1-ranked team this season and a nine-time state champion, has churned out a long list of talented receivers over the years. Hall of Famer Michael Irvin is the most touted among them, but there are plenty more.
Three former Aquinas receivers — Leonard Hankerson (Bills), Phillip Dorsett (Colts) and Rashad Greene (Jaguars) — are currently in the NFL. Another six former Raiders receivers — Sam Bruce (Miami), Dominic Thieman (Illinois), Jawuan Harris (Rutgers), Devante Peete (Louisville), Corey Holmes (Notre Dame) and Chandler Dorrell (Vanderbilt) — are playing at major Football Bowl Subdivision programs.
None of those receivers though were as highly touted coming out of high school as Grimes. In fact, Aquinas has only had three other players ranked five-star recruits by Rivals dating to 2000: Ohio State freshman defensive end Nick Bosa, Los Angeles Rams cornerback Lamarcus Joyner and Dolphins backup offensive tackle Sam Young. Coach Roger Harriott said Grimes has all the intangibles to go with the talent to be a future NFL star.
“He’s a charismatic individual,” Harriott said of Grimes. “He draws energy, and he also creates it. He’s an exceptional person and a role model for his student body and his teammates. The most impressive thing about Trevon is his work ethic, his desire to be great. It’s infectious around the entire team. At the same time, he does a great job of holding himself accountable and supporting his teammates’ ambitions.”
Once Grimes makes his college choice, the Raiders will have five receivers in their senior class committed to FBS programs. The others are 5-9, 155-pound speedster Michael Harley (West Virginia), 6-3, 190-pound Josh Palmer (Syracuse), 5-11, 178-pound Jordan Merrell (FAU) and 5-7, 172-pound Jonathan Moore (FIU). That list doesn’t include 5-11, 170-pound junior Elijah Moore, who is rated a four-star recruit by 247Sports.com.
While there are plenty of quality options for University of Florida-bound quarterback Jake Allen to throw to, Grimes’ ability “to go up and get the ball and box out defensive backs,” Allen said, is “what makes him so special” and sets him apart.
Grimes said his favorite receiver to watch — and the receiver he compares himself most to — is six-time Pro Bowler and recently retired Detroit Lions star Calvin Johnson. “I feel like I’m more of a deep threat and across-the-middle guy — just like Calvin Johnson,” Grimes said.
But Grimes knows he has a long way to go before he reaches that level. He quit the track team as a junior this past year — and a shot at a third state title in a row in the hurdles — so he could focus on maintaining his weight in football. Grimes said he gained 10 pounds of muscle over the summer.
He said his focus this season is to do a better job “getting low” and “learning how to come out of my breaks better.” He’s also taken on a bigger leadership role, Harriott said, while maintaining a 3.6 GPA.
“People have always asked Tre, ‘What’s your Plan B? What are you going to study in college?’ ” Leah Grimes said. “Because of how much he likes math, I think he’ll probably study business. But Tre’s always told people there really is no need for a Plan B. He’s always said he’s going to play in the NFL. He’s that driven.”