football Edit

Tennessee, Jeremy Pruitt recruiting Reggie Grimes 'really hard'

Reggie Grimes is a Top 30 prospect and an Alabama legacy, but the 4-star prospect from Mount Juliet High (Tenn.) is in no rush to make his college decision anytime soon.

Grimes released his Top 10 schools on Christmas Day and doesn’t plan to commit until the Under Armour All-American Game next January.

Tennessee, naturally, has made the outside linebacker a top priority in the 2020 class, selling Grimes on being the centerpiece of the turnaround on Rocky Top. Jeremy Pruitt has a long relationship with Reggie Grimes Sr., a former Alabama defensive lineman, and now he’s working to convince Grimes’ son to play for the Vols.

“Coach (Pruitt) is recruiting me really hard,” Grimes told VolQuest. “Really hard. He likes how versatile I am. He likes I can do a lot of things on the field. He’s told me that if I come in and put in the work that I’d play a lot my first year here. As long as I keep doing what I’m doing and keep a level head, I could potentially even start as a freshman. It would all depend on me and what I did while I was there.”

Grimes, who was back in town Saturday, is the No. 1 player in the Volunteer State, per Rivals. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound athlete plays linebacker, end and running back for the Golden Bears and clocked a 4.58 in cold and rainy conditions at The Opening Regionals last spring.

Tennessee is giving Grimes the option of playing wherever he's most comfortable, with Pruitt and defensive coordinator Kevin Sherrer leading that recruitment. Their message has been the same since they came to town: Stay home and represent your state.

"I hear that a lot,” Grimes said.

“They want me there. They want me to help put Tennessee back on the map. They want to make them a formidable program again.”

Grimes has visited Tennessee a handful of times in the last year, and despite the team’s 5-7 record in Pruitt’s first season, the 4-star prospect said he saw progress on his visit Saturday. There's a different mindset and energy in the building now.

“It’s changing there,” Grimes said.

“I’ve been there when coach Pruitt first got there. I’ve also been there once with the (previous staff) and going up there yesterday, I really saw how things have grown since they’ve started. (Tennessee) is growing. Seeing how the players were in the beginning to now with how they’ve responded to coach Pruitt’s coaching. It went from everyone being unsure about this next season to everyone now knowing what they need to do and the work they need to put in. They know how to go about things and what’s right and wrong, not only in football but outside of football. They know they need to win.”

Tennessee is pitching Grimes on an opportunity to play early and stay home, but the Vols are also hoping to team up Grimes with a number of other in-state prospects. The Mount Juliet native is close friends with Tyler Baron, who was back in town Saturday too, and Keshawn Lawrence, and all three have openly discussed the idea of playing together at the next level.

“We’ve all grown up together. We’ve been around each other since we were kids,” Grimes said.

“We’ve bonded through football, but we were around each other before this whole recruiting process even started. Now that it’s underway, we’ve gotten a lot closer. We’ve coordinated trips and visits. It’s big. The possibility to playing with (friends) from little league and then be around them on the same college team, it would be big. But if we do separate, I wish them the best and I know they wish the same for me.”

Tennessee, Clemson, South Carolina and Alabama are the schools currently recruiting Grimes the hardest and all four programs stand a very good chance at being in the mix until very end. Grimes has no plans of signing early, so a decision is still more than a year away.

As for what’s next?

More visits (upcoming trips to South Carolina and Virginia Tech) and then “a Top 5 release” during Grimes’ senior season.

“Right now, it’s going everywhere and seeing everything we need to see from different schools around the nation,” he said.