Tony Grimes announced his college decision live on several streaming national platforms on Tuesday evening.
The nation's No. 1 CB prospect chose North Carolina from a field of four finalists from a commitment party from Virginia.
"The last three months have been interesting but I found out that I wanted to UNC about three months ago," Grimes said on a live broadcast announcing his commitment.
The Tar Heels were able to lean on the long-standing and local relationship established by defensive backs coach Dre' Bly.
Bly was from the same Virginia Beach area as Grimes. He went on to become a two-time All-American at North Carolina and then spent 11 years in the NFL.
He told him that he could put the nation's No. 1 CB prospect and the nation's No. 7 overall recruit on that same path. That was the pitch and Grimes felt good about that.
The 6-foot, 180-pound cornerback chose the Tar Heels from a field of finalists which included Georgia, Ohio State and Texas A&M.
Georgia recruited Grimes very hard here. Even to the point prioritizing him just as much as any target in the 2021 class.
It must be noted that the 5-star CB does plan to take three of his official visits after the decision he made today. That will be worth noting going forward.
The nation's No. 1 CB prospect (247Sports Composite) for 2021 has also recently announced his top 4 schools and that he would be moving up his commitment date some five months from a previously-planned December 1, 2020 date. Grimes becomes the 17th commitment and the highest-rated pledge for the Tar Heels in 2021.
That moves Mack Brown's program up to the nation's No. 3 recruiting class for this cycle on the 247Sports Team Composite rankings.
The 5-star CB announced on Father's Day morning was set to make the decision he did today.
Tony Grimes (@757EliteDB) June 21, 2020
The 5-star recruit was able to take just one visit to Georgia earlier this year before National Signing Day for the 2020 class back in February.
It was an impactful trip for the Bulldogs and the Grimes family. Georgia was basically hanging on by a thread as one of his top 12 schools prior to that trip. Grimes shared the reasons why with DawgNation in a lengthy conversation here.
The Bulldogs quickly moved up as one of the core teams in his recruitment off that one trip.
Texas A&M had the earliest momentum in this recruitment. They were also the first school to secure a future official visit prior to the pandemic. But the Aggies did lose substantial built-up relationship equity when former DBs coach Maurice Linguist took a similar position at the first of the year with the Dallas Cowboys.
Ohio State has an impressive track record of sending cornerbacks to the NFL as first-round draft picks, but the staff recently brought Kerry Combs back from the NFL to serve as defensive backs coach and defensive coordinator. Combs returned to Ohio State in late January.
Check out his junior highlight reel below.
This clip from when he released his previous commitment date this year shows why he holds that ranking as the nation's No. 1 CB prospect for the 2021 cycle.
Tony Grimes (@757EliteDB) January 23, 2020
Tony Grimes: What might have been with UGA
This is a decision that might have been different if not for the global pandemic.
Grimes had hoped to learn more about Georgia back in mid-March. He had several planned visits prior to the shutdown of all on-campus recruiting activity.
The 5-star had already planned an official visit that was going to be earlier this month to UGA. That was the official that Grimes and his father told DawgNation the Bulldogs had earned after that one trip to Athens earlier this year.
He was set to take part in a 7-on-7 Tournament in Atlanta the weekend of March 15. There was a trip planned to see Georgia and Georgia Tech on that same weekend with a few of his 7-on-7 teammates.
"Of course we want to visit Georgia more," his father Deon Glover said back in March. "We love it. We love the coaches there. We talk to them all the time. I want to visit the program more with Tony to kind of get around the team a little bit. See the camaraderie and see how it all flows with being around them."
That was important back then. Even with that Dec. 1 deadline way down the road.
"We've been to enough schools to say Hey if push came to shove and we need to make a decision now we can make a decision now' and we've been to enough schools multiple times to be able to say that," Glover said. "At least with the schools we like. We've been multiple times. With the exception of Georgia."
They were about to do all the due diligence and research necessary to fix that.
"What's going on at Georgia is elite mimic energy that you see in Clemson and some of the other top programs," Glover said back in March. "With the program itself. We learned a lot when we were down there the first time and of course, we were going to go back this time in March and go back again in April."
"We had an official visit set up for June 12. We had put the gas in there with Georgia. Trying to get as much as we can about Georgia in a short period of time. But with those other schools, we have already got enough information on them. For real."
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