Ohio State transfer Trevon Grimes has a chance to bring an element to the Florida passing game that has been missing for quite some time now.
That would be a big, strong, fast wide receiver who can stretch the field and go up and make plays over shorter defensive backs.
“Tre is a big body receiver,” junior wide receiver Freddie Swain said. “He will go up top and go get it.”
That’s what you do when you’re 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds. You use your size advantage to get up and win those 50-50 battles for the football.
In the case of Grimes, though, he’s more than just a big receiver. He’s also fast, he also has sure hands, and he’s showing in preseason camp that he has the ability to make plays all over the field — in the flats, over the middle and deep.
“He’s going to be a great receiver this season,” Ole Miss transfer wide receiver Van Jefferson said.
Wide receiver coach Billy Gonzales’ big priority with Grimes right now is making sure he plays like a big receiver.
He doesn’t want Grimes to be like a smaller receiver — shifty and quick. He wants him to play like a big, strong and fast receiver, which is what he is.
“We talked about this is the offseason. When he first got here, no (he didn’t play big),” Gonzales said. “You see those videos of guys with great footwork and they’re moving their feet around, which is awesome, fantastic. But there’s different guys with different attributes.
“If you’re a big guy, I want you to play big. He’s strong. Play big and strong. Play fast. I don’t need all the quickness. I want you to play physical, big, strong and exert your force on the defensive backs.”
Grimes was not doing that when he first arrived from Ohio State in January.
After tearing an ACL in October of his senior year at Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas, the five-star recruit got off to a slow start with the Buckeyes in his true freshman season last fall, seeing only limited playing time (two games) and catching just three passes.
At the end of last season, Grimes made the decision to transfer to Florida to be closer to his family, which has been dealing with a health issue.
When he got here, he didn’t exactly fit the description of a big wide receiver.
But he has evolved into one over the past seven months thanks to his work in Nick Savage’s strength and conditioning program.
“The transformation of his body, that’s the biggest thing,” Gonzales said. “Coach Savage has done a great job of transforming his body and understanding he didn’t really have a full year going through a program and putting forth all the work effort. And learning how to work.
“He’s done a great job. He’s done a fantastic job for us right now. He’s making some catches on the perimeter. He’s got great length and great size. It’s something that will definitely be a value to us this year.”
Grimes not only has great size, he’s got speed to go with it. He showed in the spring, and is showing now in camp, that he is one of the Gators’ best deep threats, maybe the best.
There are times that Grimes is even lining in the slot, a position usually manned by smaller, quicker receivers.
That’s the Gonzales plan for Grimes. Have him play big — and fast.
“I don’t want you to do anything with footwork,” Gonzales said. “We want what we call a speed release. Everything I want with you is the speed release that you get in the habit of coming off the ball.
“He’s got good speed, now. He can run by people. If you sit back and say he’s just a big receiver, he’s got good speed and he can run by you.”
When Grimes decided to leave Ohio State last December, he could have transferred to Miami or another school closer to home. But he chose Florida because Dan Mullen’s spread offense is similar to Urban Meyer’s, and with the new coaching staff, he felt he’d be starting fresh just like everyone else on the UF roster.
Grimes said he made the right choice.
“I love this program,” he said. “I’ve been here for seven months now, and I love everything about it. I’m excited to be here.
“I feel like I can contribute right away with being able to stretch the field. We have a lot of great receivers like Tyrie Cleveland and Van Jefferson. I feel like all of us bring a different thing to the game plan, but I feel like I can stretch the field the best and get down the field.”
Play big and fast. That’s the plan for Grimes.
Aug. 19: Fan Day at the Indoor Practice Facility from 2-4 p.m. Admission is free.
Sept. 1: Charleston Southern, 7:30 p.m. at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. SEC Network will carry the season-opener.
Tickets: Visit FloridaGators.com. Fans may also call the Gator Ticket Office at 375-4683 or visit it on the west side of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.