Penn Hills’ Grimes to play football at Akron

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Thursday, January 30, 2020 | 9:45 PM


With National Signing Day approaching, Penn Hills’ Tony Grimes took his turn at announcing where he will play the sport he has loved since he was 6.

Grimes announced his verbal commitment to play football at Akron as a preferred walk-on via his personal Twitter account Jan. 27. Grimes will join a former Penn Hills teammate, Corey Thomas, at Akron.

Earlier this month, Penn Hills defensive tackle Derrell Porter committed to Dartmouth.

Before committing to Akron, Grimes was mulling a preferred walk-on offer from Pitt and an offer from Gannon. Grimes received interest from Cal (Pa.), Fairmont State and IUP.

“I give all glory to God because everybody isn’t blessed. It feels so relieving, but I can’t get complacent because I know that’s not the dream right there. The dream and goal is higher,” Grimes said.

Grimes, who was recruited as an athlete, received first-team all-conference honors as a defensive back. Grimes finished with three interceptions and two forced fumbles during his senior season.

On offense, Grimes finished with 438 yards receiving with six touchdown receptions.

The Zips, who went 0-12 overall and 0-8 in the Mid-American Conference last season, expressed interest in Grimes in December, offering a preferred walk-on spot Jan. 15, and Grimes went to visit the campus Jan. 25-26.

Grimes, who will major in sports management, reached out to Thomas for insight into the program and what to expect.

“He gave me a perfect image of how it’s going to be, even when he would come back home and we would work out together. I knew what I was going to look at when I was going up there. When I go up there, we might room together,” Grimes said.

The Zips will look to use him on the offensive side to provide matchup problems for linebackers or safeties, Grimes said.

“It didn’t really matter to me. I really wanted to play football. I enjoy the ball being in my hands. I like making plays,” Grimes said.

Throughout his years, Grimes has participated in many sports — baseball, basketball, as well as track and field. However, he could never shake the love he developed for the game of football after he started to play for Homewood Youth Football.

Grimes reflects on the times when he wanted to play with his friends on the T-Ball team, but they wouldn’t be free to play since they were involved with football.

“I fell in love with the game and made it my craft. The older I got the more I realized it built your character with the adversity you have to face, the obstacles you need to overcome in order to win. I feel like that symbolizes life also,” Grimes said.

Penn Hills defensive backs Aakeem Snell and Dylan Bennett, who also were first-team all-conference, also are planning to play at the collegiate level but haven’t made commitments.

Defensive end S’qy Featherstone, guard Rahmir Moore-Tucker, running back Germar Howard, defensive end Donovan Carpenter among other seniors are mulling their college options.

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