FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Calvin Johnson’s days playing in the NFL may be over, but his influence is alive and well in the form of 2017 5-star receiver Trevon Grimes.
In fact, the nation’s No. 2 wideout and the No. 10 player overall in the 2017 cycle has even used the former Lions legend’s nickname of “Megatron” as inspiration for a nickname of his own.
“Calvin Johnson is a guy I’ve always looked up to and admired. If I had to choose a receiver to be like, I’d pick Calvin Johnson,” Grimes told Bleacher Report recently. “I have a nickname I call myself. I call myself “Tregatron.”
Getting bigger to match his idol on a physical level has been on the top of Grimes’ offseason to-do list, as he now checks in at 6’4”, 201 pounds.
“I just hit the 200-pound mark. I’m trying to get to 210 [before the season]. I just want to add some muscle. I look forward to displaying that during my senior season,” he said.
Grimes is just one of several prospects from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida—one of the nation’s premier prep powers.
Raiders head coach Roger Harriott said Grimes has many qualities that make him one of the nation’s most coveted skill talents in the 2017 class.
“He has a great work ethic in the weight room. He pushes himself hard and inspires his teammates,” Harriott said. “Obviously, he’s physically gifted with a big, strong body and a substantial amount of speed. He has an ability to stretch the field and make explosive plays. From an intangible standpoint, he has strong character. He has a very positive attitude. He has a will power and drive that is uncanny.”
Originally from Indiana, Grimes has thrived in the football hotbed of South Florida since relocating.
He’s landed more than 25 offers heading into his senior season, with schools such as Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Miami and Ohio State among the programs aggressively recruiting him.
However, there’s no secrecy involved in identifying the school in the driver’s seat for one of 2017’s most explosive prospects.
“I always keep in contact with [Ohio State head] Coach Urban Meyer. He’s a great guy, and they have a great staff. That’s one of the reasons Ohio State is my leader,” Grimes explained. “I just feel like they don’t look at me like a regular recruit they just want. They look at me more as like a son and they want to mentor me in life and help me with my life goals. I feel like those are the two coaches [Meyer and receivers coach Zach Smith] that stick out to me the most.”
Another school is positioning itself to pose the biggest challenge in preventing Grimes from eventually landing in Columbus.
“Right now, Florida is chasing Ohio State. That’s probably the biggest threat to Ohio State,” Grimes said. “I like a lot of things about Florida. My quarterback here, Jake Allen, he’s committed to Florida, and he’s on me everyday in class about Florida, this and Florida, that. I got to get up there and see what he was talking about and since then, I was amazed. I like everything about it. I like [receivers] Coach [Kerry] Dixon. I like the atmosphere and facilities. Everything is good there.”
For his part, Allen acknowledged being in his teammate’s ear about teaming up again in college.
“That’s my guy. Everyday. I have math with him, so I’ll be like, ‘Tre, what’s up? Go Gators,’ or something like that just to let him know we want him up there,” Allen said.
Grimes visited the Gators in January for the program’s junior day, and he recently took a trip to Miami for a similar visit.
In addition to a return trip to Gainesville, there are a pair of college football titans he wants to visit in the near future.
“One of my major schools I want to get up to soon is Florida State. Another one I want to see is Alabama, and I want to get back to Florida,” he said.
Two things Grimes noted that will be critical in his decision are his relationships with the coaching staff and his comfort level on campus at his school of choice.
He’s not in a rush to make a decision, although he admits it could come at any moment.
“I really don’t have a timeline, but I’ll do it when I feel comfortable. It could be within the next couple of months if I feel right, but I have to talk with my mom and see when the time is right,” Grimes said. “Whenever I feel like I’m ready to get this thing over with, that’s when I’ll do it.”
Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand and all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.
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College football is a game steeped in tradition. Many fans are born into their allegiances, given their rooting interests by their parents at birth. Six to seven times per year, they head to their stadium of choice, taking the same route, setting up in the same tailgating spot and sitting in the same seats they’ve had for generations.
One important part of those traditions is the team mascot. Mascots play a key role in college football fandom. They adorn the gear fans wear, elicit emotional responses and provide sideline entertainment. While many programs have classic mascots such as Lions, Tigers and Bears (oh my!), others have more of an eclectic nature. While the University of California at Santa Cruz doesn’t offer football, it’d be worth it just to see the Banana Slug mascot (immortalized by John Travolta’s T-shirt in Pulp Fiction) sliding along the sidelines.
Weird mascots make college football fun. Here’s a look at some of the game’s strangest mascots, both by name and by the actual mascots themselves.
The University of Illinois announced the dismissal of head football coach Bill Cubit on Saturday following one year as the program's interim boss.
The team's official Twitter account relayed a statement from new athletic director Josh Whitman:
Freshman quarterback Eli Peters expressed his shock at the decision:
Meanwhile, offensive lineman Joseph Spencer thanked the coach for his work:
Cubit took over as interim head coach last August after former head coach Tim Beckman was fired in the midst of an NCAA investigation into the reporting of injuries and the medical treatment of members of the football team.
The Illini went 5-7 under Cubit during the 2015 season, and as USA Today's Erick Smith noted, the dismissal came on Whitman's first day as the school's athletic director.
However, ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg theorized Whitman may not have made the move in hasty fashion:
Fox Sports' Stewart Mandel provided another perspective through the prism of Cubit's appointment to the position of head coach:
Illinois also announced Ryan Cubit was relieved of his duties as the program's offensive coordinator, while all other assistants currently with the team will be afforded a chance to retain their jobs via interviews with the next head coach.
The school's statement mentioned that Bill will receive the remaining $985,000 on his deal, while Ryan will take home $361,000.
With the 2005 MAC Coach of the Year out in Champaign, the team will need to find a replacement fast. As Bleacher Report's Bryan Fischer noted, the Illini are scheduled to start spring practice in six days.
And with the personnel shuffle just beginning, Illinois could be in for another long year as it searches for stability that has long been elusive.
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