Fear not, Aggie fans, meaningful college football is just around the corner, with the start of the 2023 season nearly a week away! Here at Aggies Wire, we’ll be counting down by looking at each Texas A&M football player that corresponds to the number of days left till the start of the football season.
With eight days until kickoff, we’re looking at No. 8 for the Maroon and White: senior defensive back Tony Grimes.
After three seasons with North Carolina Grimes is bringing his speed, length, and football intelligence to an Aggies secondary that saw a handful of departures following the 2022 season. He was the first addition to the roster through the transfer portal back in December, and he brings with him an assembly of experience in run and pass coverage.
During his playing time at Chapel Hill, he totaled 97 tackles, 74 solo tackles, 19 pass deflections, and one interception. 36 of those tackles and seven of those pass deflections came during the 2022 campaign, and Pro Football Focus graded him with a 69.3 tackling grade and a 66.3 coverage grade as a Tar Heel.
Grimes’ experience will be leaned on after Texas A&M saw nickel corner Antonio Johnson and defensive back Jaylon Jones depart for the 2023 NFL Draft. The former Tar Heel has already been labeled as a name to watch among this year’s transfer additions, with The Athletic ranking him among the Top 100 most impactful newcomers of 2023.
Interestingly enough, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound prospect out of Virginia Beach (Va.) Princess Anne was initially a high-profile target for the Aggies during his recruiting cycle. Originally a member of the class of 2021, the former five-star reclassified to the class of 2020 and committed to the Tar Heels. In a way, donning the Maroon and White this season feels like an unofficial homecoming of sorts.
The latest indications are that Grimes will be battling with freshman corner Jayvon Thomas for one of the starting roles outside, and in reality, a final decision could come down to the buzzer right before Week 1. But as a three-year player with over 1,800 snap counts on his resume, that bevy of experience will prove invaluable for a defense that could be on the doorstep of being elite.
Especially with injuries being an unfortunate reality of college football, look for Grimes to play an ample amount of snaps in the fall and become a key cog of a secondary looking to make plays through the air every Saturday afternoon.