On my lunch break, I came across this New Yorker story on St. Thomas Aquinas' efforts to improve player safety. The background on concussions won't register as news to anyone here, but Nick Bosa makes an appearance, and there's some fun color on Trevon Grimes:
Grimes was arguably the best high-school wide receiver in America. He was tall and lean, with blazing speed and grippy hands. He referred to himself as a “light-skinned stallion,” and had altered his name on the back of his practice jersey so that it read “crime.” He was charismatic like Muhammad Ali, Harriott said.
By the end of his sophomore year, Grimes had received scholarship offers from nearly every top college program. “Laundry baskets” of letters arrived for him daily, Leah said. Privately, Grimes was intent on attending Ohio State. But he couldn’t help doing a little preening: in March, at a Nike-sponsored camp in Fort Lauderdale, he told the press, “Whatever school makes me feel comfortable, that’s one of the biggest aspects that will bump a school up.”
ESPN invited Grimes to announce his college choice on-air, but he declined. In August, he posted on his Twitter account, @GrimeTime, that he was headed for Ohio State. Urban Meyer, its head coach, had been in frequent contact with him. “I felt loved,” Grimes told me.
Harriott knew that, if Grimes left Ohio State as hyped as he was going in, he had a chance to become an N.F.L. star. But athletic talent is fragile. Harriott had dreamed of the pros before tearing his A.C.L. (For most teen-agers, who tend not to think about long-term repercussions, a busted knee is far more worrying than a concussion. “If you take somebody’s legs out, you instantly take away their livelihood,” Cornelius Bennett said.)
Harriott stressed the importance of character development, and he didn’t make exceptions for his star. Once, in practice, Grimes caught himself on the verge of swearing, and said “fudge” instead. Harriott pointed to the ground.
“Coach!” Grimes said. “I can’t believe I gotta do pushups for ‘fudge.’ ” But he complied.
Harriott blasted the air horn and the offense lined up for seven-on-seven drills. On one play, Jake Allen, the starting quarterback, threw the ball to Grimes, amid double coverage. Grimes plucked the ball out of the air. “That boy is like a magnet,” an assistant coach marvelled. After pulling down a pair of catches against St. Thomas’s top cornerback, Grimes teased his defender: “I’m a machine! Sometimes I just need a little WD-40.