Updated: Jul 23, 2019
Good things come to those who wait, as Florida wide receiver Trevon Grimes found out last year.
GAINESVILLE — Good things come to those who wait, as Florida wide receiver Trevon Grimes found out last year. The former 5-star recruit transferred from Ohio State to UF after the 2017 season and the NCAA granted him immediate eligibility last August. However, there would be no immediate impact from Grimes in 2018. He caught three passes for 50 yards and a touchdown in the season opener, but made just one reception in four of the next five games. Grimes understood why the ball wasn’t coming his way early on. “We have a lot of great weapons,” he said. “Van Jefferson, Tyrie Cleveland, Josh Hammond, there are a lot of great receivers on our team. I knew my time would come whenever it does. “You can’t be stingy. You have to let the ball go where it goes. If it doesn’t come to you one game, it might go to you the next. I always had the mentality if the ball comes to me, I do what I do.”
Florida coach Dan Mullen knew there would be an adjustment period for Grimes, but had no hesitation about adding him to the roster. Mullen said Grimes came highly recommended from the Buckeyes coaching staff. “He has great size and he’s a mismatch with size. But he has some speed on top of that to run away from people,’ Mullen said. “I didn’t think we had great receiver depth. And that’s something for me, we like to have receivers out there on the field and I like to roll guys through. “To me, I don’t like guys having to play more than 40 plays a game at the receiver position because of how fast and how hard we expect them to run on every play. To have the opportunity to get a highly-recruited guy that was a great high school player — even though we didn’t know past that where he was at — that was big for us.”
Grimes proved his worth during the final month of the season. After making 13 receptions for 147 yards through the first eight games, he caught 12 balls for 219 yards in the last four weeks. His breakout performance came in the regular season finale at Florida State. Grimes was propelled to the starting lineup following the injury to Tyrie Cleveland, who broke his right collarbone in the first quarter. The Ohio State transfer stepped up in his absence. He had a career day against the Seminoles, hauling in five passes for 118 yards and a touchdown in UF’s 41-14 win. His 22-yard score in the third quarter put the Gators up 27-7.
Grimes was the first and only Florida receiver with a 100-yard game last year, and it served as a confidence booster for him. “It helped me a lot,” Grimes said. “I was never down at any time during the season. I guess you could say I always knew my time would come, just had to stay patient. But having a game like the Florida State game really did help me a lot going into the next season and coming into this spring.”
Grimes continued his dominant play in the Orange & Blue Game on April 13. He had a 64-yard touchdown and finished with four catches for 195 yards, breaking Dallas Baker’s spring-game record from 2004 (176 yards).
“I give all the glory to the coaches,” Grimes said. “Coach [Nick] Savage, Coach [Billy] Gonzales, Coach Mullen, all of them stay on me every day. Even when I have bad practices, they hold me to a high standard. “I feel like I’ve made the most strides mentally, getting in the playbook, diving into coverages, learning different route concepts and coverages shifts. That has helped me out a lot.”
According to his fellow receivers, Grimes’ performance in the Orange & Blue Game was just a glimpse of what he did in practice all spring. Seniors Freddie Swain and Van Jefferson expect big things from No. 8 this fall. “He went crazy in the spring game,” Swain said of Grimes. “You can tell that during spring practice he finally understands what he is doing and why he is doing it.
It shows that he has tremendous ability to be a great athlete.” Jefferson added, “He had an awesome spring and he’s been doing extra work. We’ve been getting that in together. You can see that unfolding this spring and he’s going to transition that into fall camp.”
From his injury-plagued season at Ohio State to his mother’s health issues that led to him transferring, Grimes said he’s had to overcome a lot of obstacles over the past two years. He feels those “barriers” are now behind him. “I’ve learned a lot about myself mentally,” Grimes said. “I didn’t really play that much my freshman season. My sophomore season was all right. I hold myself to a high expectation, so I really just had to get off a couple of mental barriers. “And now that I feel like I’ve overcome those, I’m going out there and having fun with my teammates and brothers. There’s nothing that me or our team can’t accomplish this year.”