There were tears coming through the phone and Trevon Grimes couldn’t help but shed a few of his own.
Grimes chose to attend Ohio State over Florida, Alabama, Georgia, FSU and others. He played in just two games and caught just three passes for 20 yards as a freshman, after coming back from a torn ACL he sustained in October of his senior season of high school.
After the first month of the season Urban Meyer announced that Grimes was back at home in Ft. Lauderdale dealing with a family health issue. At the time Meyer still contended that the plan was for Grimes to play at Ohio State but, ultimately, Grimes decided he needed to be closer to home — Columbus is 1,137 miles away from Ft. Lauderdale. Gainesville is 313.
Grimes grew up in Indianapolis before his family moved to Ft. Lauderdale where he attended football powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas. He dreamed of playing for Ohio State but his family came first and he made the difficult decision to leave.
There were several options that Grimes considered but he ultimately chose Florida due to the opportunity for a fresh start with a new coaching staff.
“I knew that there was going to be a whole new coaching staff, Dan Mullen and Coach Gonzales. And I felt like I put myself in the best position,” he said. “I would be new and they would be new. I wouldn’t fall behind. If I would have went to any other school, I would have been behind other players and would have had to learn the offense and learn different things that they would have already been a step ahead. I felt like coming here, I would be able to learn with every other player because everybody else has to learn the offense as well.”
Grimes enrolled at Florida and went through spring practice with the uncertainty of his playing status in the fall. With the decision out of his hands he tried to work o the things he could control, starting with building relationships with his new teammates. The first being with his quarterback, Feleipe Franks. The two are moving into an apartment together this week based off of the relationship they’ve built over the last seven months.
“I feel like me and Feleipe click and blend perfectly. He knows where I’m going to be, I know where he’s going to be,” Grimes said. “On the field and off the field, we talk every day. We text every day. So I feel like that’s important to have when you’re thinking of somebody that is going to get you the ball.”
And Franks doesn’t keep normal office hours, either.
“The other night I was sleeping and he FaceTimed me,” Grimes said. “I’m like, ‘What is he FaceTiming me for?’ It was this route he wanted me to run. He flipped the camera. He was like, ‘I think you should go a little bit deeper.’ This at about 9:30 at night.”
Back to that phone call.
Grimes got a call Wednesday morning, the day before the team would report for fall camp, from Dan Mullen. His head coach called with good news. He had been grated a family hardship waiver making him eligible to play this season. He wouldn’t have to sit out and with his mother’s health back she would be able to watch him play, something she couldn’t do last year.
Grimes hung up with Mullen and immediately dialed home.
“She cried like any mom would. She cried and she was just excited because she gets to go watch her baby play, doesn’t have to sit out a year,” he said of the phone call. “It was kind of hard because from transitioning from Ohio State, she didn’t to watch me play. So she gets to watch me play. I’m excited to go out there and play for her.”
It was a huge weight lifted off his shoulders. The football field has been his sanctuary while dealing with everything off the field. He’s had fellow transfer Van Jefferson to lean on as Jefferson was going through a similar transfer situation. The two have a saying, or mantra, they repeat to themselves.
“Me and Van talk about every day, our little saying is pressure busts pipes, but we’re not going bust,” Grimes said. “We feel like we can bring a lot to table and we’re excited to get on the field and show Gator Nation what we really can do.”