Big plans for Florida receiver Grimes

Florida wide receiver Trevon Grimes opens makes a catch during Tuesday's practice at the Sanders Practice Fields on campus. [Lauren Bacho/Gainesville Sun]

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.

Up next

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 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.


  1. Ahhhhhh, yes… a downfield passing game. I think I remember what that looks like. I can’t wait to see Grimes smothering DBs blocking for the running game, too. He will shove them right out the back of the endzone, and then the next series run right by them on the play action. It’s going to be FUN!!!!

      • we have had few moments downfield … franks to Cleveland, calloway before that…still we haven’t had enough of them. look forward to making defensive coordinators nervous. its a big if, but if this player gets bigger and works out to be in the category of mike evans of the bucs we can go back to beating Alabama again, so lets hope the hype is close to reality this time.

  2. Robbie–enjoyed reading your informative piece on Grimes. It not only told me something about Grimes but about Gonzales too, and about different kinds of receivers. This is the kind of thing I always look for when I read an article–that is, to come out better informed, to know a little more about how to watch a football game, how to be able sometimes to know why someone is being successful or not. You do this kind of thing often and better than anyone else I read here. Now, then, why didn’t you…..

    • Imagine lining him up in the slot against a nickel back. I’m looking forward to seeing a big guy like him coming across the middle to catch the ball and turning up field! Size, speed and hands; a QB’s dream and DBack’s worst nightmare. Of course, as a former player at Aquinas I am just a bit biased!

  3. I love these articles, Robbie, Pat, and all the others. Y’all keeping us all in the loop, until Sept. 1st and beyond! With regards to Grimes, I’ve been a fan of Grimes and Jefferson (since they transferred here, and I watched their tape on-line, etc…). And Grimes is a 6′ 5” ”GO UP and GET IT” kinda’ receiver.
    Which is much needed for U.F.’s offense.
    High performance from a few, helps MOTIVATE most of the others.
    Tick-tock… so excited for 2018 Florida Football! Go Gators! Just do it!

  4. It is interesting how those articles build the team and star players up as if they already won a Championship. Writers, let’s please not forget that they haven’t done Jack! A few months ago, I was reading how bad a recruiter Dan Mullen was and now his recruits are the greatest. Yes it’s OK to have high expectations but only IF we are not in a rush to bring those kids and coaching staff down when they don’t meet unrealistic expectations. Well, how about we wait until after the Georgia game before we can anoint these players? I love the limitless possibilities but I am hoping these players never read the newspaper. Let’s not forget that they are young kids and we need them to stay humble and hungry. That said, I have a player in mind who is going to be making waves..He’s flying under the radar, so far, but I’d rather not say the name so not as to jynx that player. LOL Anyway, it’s that one player that gives me hope that this team has a chance to eventually become special, that is, if he develops the way I think he will. It may be this year or it may be next year that he reaches his potential, but I can’t wait to see this gator fly! Go Gators!!!

    • I’m not sure what you’re complaining about here. The article was mostly quotes from the players stating how good he’s been doing and how good they expect him to be. The quotes from the coaches simply state he’s transformed physically and technically as well as mention his obvious abilities. No where did it anoint him as anything nor did it make any predictions or outline expectations that he would be great. In summary, the kid has potential.

      You’re actually the only one in this scenario who has made grand predictions about a player “making waves” but it’s ok because you didn’t mention his name. I think you’re reading too much into the article and not getting what it’s actually stating.

          • I don’t know guys — I had a different takes after reading Larry’s comment, more cautionary if anything. Daz said the other day — “I was beginning to feel like we’re going to win a national championship this year” (or words to that effect). It appropriately slowed my excitement down to more realistic levels, while leaving my enthusiasm intact…..I appreciated that, actually, so a belated thank you, Daz.

            Anyway, that was the vein in which I took Larry.

    • Don’t know about that but the head cheerleader on the “Mullen- can’t-recruit” bandwagon has always been Tampa. And even then, or better, and yet, he has only implied that and not come out and say it as such.
      As far as pumping up the players I agree with the rest of the fellows here, the writer is talking about potential so just keep that in mind.
      Thing is if Franks is the QB, and if he hasn’t improved, he will not see Grimes open down the middle and just chuck it 40 yards downfield into double coverage. That should temper all of our expectations even though there are tow big “ifs” in my statement. Maybe Trask will get the nod or maybe Franks can finally get it. We will soon see.

      • Boy, you just had to work in “and yet”, didn’tcha?

        I look at the class Mullen pulled in this year, under duress and with a lot of effort — consisting of multiple 4* recruits — and I have to scratch my head as to how that mantra started that he somehow can’t recruit. And here it is barely August, at least in my time zone, and we’re already hearing it all over again about the 2019 class. Like we just won back to back national championships or something, and have a right to cast aspersions at him for not meeting the standard somehow?

        I’m telling you, CO, that’s starting to become a pet peeve of mine. At least it keeps my blood pressure up above that of a cadaver, which of course is the new AMA standard but makes me dizzy as hell anyway. And, as always, if I’m wrong and CDM is the biggest turd laid by the Gators ever on the recruiting trail, I will naturally admit publicly to being a suck egg mule of the lowest caliber. And yet, somehow I don’t think I’ll have to do that.

  5. Remember the days when Spurrier and Meyer / Mullen used to churn out big time receivers every year to the point that we were trying to predict who the All-SEC receiver would be the next year? Those days seem soooooooooooo long ago.

    I actually feel bad for all the receivers that have come through this program expecting to get good coaching but in reality could have learned more from You Tube tutorials. We’ve had good (not elite) talent at the position, but only until now with the return of Mullen and Gonzalez are they getting the coaching that will help them finally maximize their talent resulting production. They’re all probably looking at the program now thinking what could have been had they received the coaching our current receivers are getting (and the current ones are probably realizing what good coaching actually is).

  6. Anyone remember how quickly, seemingly out of nowhere, erstwhile DB Ernie Mills emerged as a go-to big play receiver for the 1990 Gators? We had brought in the right coach, a guy who thoroughly understood offense and the passing game, and the transformation was phenomenal.
    It wasn’t only the development of Shane Matthews. Mills, an otherwise overlooked back-up tight end Kirk Kirkpatrick, and others stepped forward in Spurrier’s passing attack, too.

    Mullen appears every bit another transformative coach. But whereas Coach Spurrier had to work with the material he found at Florida that first year, Mullen brought in with him two elite talents at receiver in Grimes and Jefferson. The immediate impact those two make this season will accelerate the recruitment of other highly talented, gifted receivers.

    Just as our Head Ball Coach soonafter brought in Jack Jackson, Willie Jackson Jr., Ike Hilliard, Reidel Anthony, Jacquez Green and uncovered the skills of Chris Doering, so more big talents such as Jefferson and Grimes will be trekking to Florida go play in Coach Mullen’s offense.

    The presence of those two receivers now, along with Tyrie Cleveland and perhaps two or three other emerging receivers, bodes well for this team right now. Add in the powerhouse talent at running back and you’ve got almost the making of an explosive offense for 2018. If the offensive line comes forward and gels quickly Mullen will send enough of a quarterback on the field to orchestrate a major turnaround in Gator football this year.

  7. I saw Grimes play a bunch of games at STA (High School). He operated on a much different level then the other players on the field when Jake Allen was throwing to him. It is hard to explain but when you see a player like him play you know he is special (bigger, quicker, faster, more athletic, and likable). He will be a huge Gator Star. The kid has a personality that us Gator fans have been missing.

  8. Talent was never a problem at UF. Granted we have not recruited as well as we have done in the past but we have always had talent to work with. The problem has been coaching, coaching and more coaching. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if we have had the most turnover in coaches whether it be coordinators or head coaches in the last decade. This is the first year in a really long time that I feel confident our players are getting the coaching they need to compete. The only question mark I have is if Franks is smart enough to run the offense. I truly believe that E. Jones has way better instincts than both Franks and Trask but will need to increase his size and knowledge of the playbook in order to become the starter. With three early cupcake games on the schedule we should see all three QB’s play and by then who should be the starter going forward.

    • I’m not sure I’d throw Kentucky into the cupcake category anymore.

      But as a whole I agree with you. While we don’t have a roster full of 5 stars, the talent on this team ain’t chicken liver either. The difference ( we hope) between last year and this year will be coaching!

      • Now that we get closer, 22 and a wake up if you ask me, 20 and a wake up if you ask Leland, I’m not real sure even Vandy is a cupcake, Rog. Kind of going against the grain, I imagine, I think we actually do learn a great deal from our first game, and even more from the second — because that’s about all the slack we have until we get to later on, once we hit the East. It better be diagnostic, because we go prime time really quickly after that.

        • Jim Rog 6, UK and Vandy are getting better. I think our new found depth and S&C will give us the advantage. Like everyone else I’ve got some reservations and concerns. Boxes we checked from the previous two regimes. Qualified DYNAMIC coaching, S&C, system that makes sense, assistant coaches that are proven, staff that has coaches in SEC. All these are checked. Then comes as GI says fundamentals, execution of routes, plays. To s steal his phrase the coaches are doing it, now the players need to just go it. GO GATORS! 6, 22 days where’s the fast forward button?

    • Is Franks smart enough to run the offense? There you have it, the million dollar question. Has Franks improved in his decision making? Who knows but if he hasn’t then all his talent and ability are meaningless. I trust Mullen will go with whoever can move the offense on a consistent basis without any biases or favoritism in the face of incompetence as has been the case before like with Treon Harris and others in the past