COLUMBUS, Ohio — Just like most of you, Trevon Grimes kept a close eye on Ohio State’s passing attack in 2016. After all, the fifth-ranked wide receiver in the 2017 class will be joining the Buckeyes’ offense in the coming year.
But while Grimes’ perspective on the matter might be different from most given his position, he’s not naive either. He saw what most of you saw.
“They struggled in the passing game,” Grimes said of his future team on last week’s “Inside the Shoe” Ohio State podcast.
The only difference is, unlike most, Grimes has the ability to help fix Ohio State’s aerial issues.
At 6-foot-3 and 202 pounds, the 4-star receiver fits the profile of the type of playmaker the Buckeyes offense was missing in 2016. With a red-zone friendly frame and reported 4.4 speed to match, Grimes has already drawn favorable comparisons to former Texas A&M star Mike Evans.
Asked what he can provide the OSU offense in his freshman season, Grimes named the skill that’s eluded the Buckeyes’ for the better part of the past two seasons.
“(They) needed a tall, lengthy, down-the-field receiver,” he said. “I feel like I could contribute to Ohio State’s passing game a lot.”
The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., product didn’t stop there.
“Deep-field threat. Open-space threat. Basically anything you need me to do, I can do it, I feel like,” Grimes said. “If you need a 3rd-and-20 guy, I’m the man. If you need a 1st-and-10 guy, I’m the man. I’m excited to show the fans what I bring to the table.”
What’s more, Grimes feels like he has something to prove.
A product of South Florida prep powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas, Grimes received his first scholarship offer during his freshman season of high school. By the end of his sophomore season, he had received too many offers to even keep track of — including one from what he called his “dream school,” Ohio State.
As a junior, Grimes was considered a 5-star prospect by every major recruiting service. A summer after catching 27 passes for 496 yards and seven touchdowns in 2015, he committed to the Buckeyes alongside former OSU commit Tyjon Lindsey.
But in the third game of his senior season — against Lindsey’s Las Vegas Bishop Gorman — Grimes suffered a torn ACL, which ended his high school career. As a result, his recruiting ranking dropped, with most sites now considering him a 4-star prospect.
Still on the road to recovery, Grimes, however, insists he hasn’t lost a step.
“Speed is everything for me,” he said. “A lot of people think coming off this ACL injury that I’m going to lose speed, but that is not an issue. … I’m looking forward to this coming season, just to prove a lot of people wrong.”
If he can do that, he’ll be a welcome addition in an Ohio State offense that has lacked a consistent deep threat since Devin Smith’s departure at the end of the 2014 season.
A year ago, freshman Binjimen Victor led all Buckeyes wide receivers with 16 yards per catch, only catching four passes on the year. For comparison’s sake, in his three games in 2016, Grimes caught a total of 15 passes for 274 yards — an 18.3 yards per catch average.
A season earlier, Grimes stretched the field to the tune of 18.4 yards per catch, including a long of 58 yards. That’s 11 yards longer than any catch an Ohio State wideout caught in all of 2016.
Of course, there will be an adjustment between the high school and college level, and Grimes’ recovery remains a work in progress.
But if the Sunshine State star can get back to full strength, he might be just what the doctor ordered for the Buckeyes’ passing attack.
“I believe everything happens for a reason,” he said. “I don’t know what that reason was for, but I can’t just moan about me having a torn ACL.
“I’m going to come back better than ever.”