Counting down the 50 most imporant Illini
No. 48: Zeph Grimes, STAR
Why he’s important: It appears the linebacker is making the move to the STAR this season, which could benefit him it he can get onto the field at a crowded position. The switch seems logical based on the fact Grimes isn’t the biggest (5-11, 225) and some of the speed he has is better suited for out in space rather in-between the tackles, especially since he initially came to Illinois projected to play defensive back. A special teams contributor a year ago, he could again be counted on to fill that role. The fourth-year player made 11 tackles last season, but played in all 12 games. When Jonathan Brown was dealing with a concussion last year at Camp Rantoul, Grimes filled in briefly at his weakside linebacking spot. Grimes is the utility guy in that particular group, and he had a solid spring, highlighted by an interception of Wes Lunt during the spring game. He’s still likely a year away from starting, but if he keeps progressing this season in practices and his limited opportunities during games, could be in line for a starting role in 2015.
Fast fact: The South Carolina native, one of two on the team, was highly thought of by his teammates last season. Illinois selects captains prior to each game, and Grimes was their pick before last year’s homecoming game against Michigan State.
Last year’s ranking: NA
Tomorrow: No. 47