North Carolina junior cornerback Tony Grimes announced his intention to enter the transfer portal on Monday in an Instagram post from his personal account.
Grimes, who is from Virginia Beach, Va., was a coveted recruit in the class of 2020. He was rated the nation’s top cornerback out of Princess Anne High School in 247 Sports’ composite rankings.
He started the last four games of his freshman season and had been a mainstay in the lineup for the past two seasons as a starter. But after showing a lot of promise that first year, he did not establish himself as an elite corner. He started every game this season until he did not play against N.C. State, and he played a season-low four snaps against Clemson in the ACC Championship game.
According to Pro Football Focus’ grading system, Grimes’ best season in coverage was in 2020 when he allowed just eight catches on 20 targets and had an interception. This season Grimes gave up 23 catches on 45 targets and three touchdowns.
Grimes was the highest ranked recruit of the 10 UNC players who announced on Monday that they would enter the portal. Along with safety Cam’Ron Kelly, they were the only two starters who announced they were leaving.
The common thread of the players who are transferring was a lack of playing time. That includes kicker Jonathan Kim, who announced earlier in the season he would enter the portal. Kim was used exclusively on kickoffs and wanted the opportunity to also kick field goals.
Linebacker RaRa Dilworth, who was also a heralded recruit in the Class of 2021, played sparingly as a sophomore and was used primarily in Carolina’s dime package. But the prospect of returning with starters Power Echols and Cedric Gray likely to both return may have seemed daunting.
UNC coach Mack Brown did say during several interviews last month that he would allow players who were entered the portal to participate in the bowl game. Kelly announced that he will be participating, but the complete list is still unknown.
UNC players in the transfer portal
CB - Tony Grimes
QB - Jacolby Criswell
Edge - Chris Collins (graduate)
LB - Raneiria “Ra Ra” Dilworth
PK - Jonathan Kim (graduate)
DB - Ladaeson DeAndre Hollins (graduate)
DB - Dontavius Nash
DL - Jahlil Taylor (graduate)
CB - Tymir Brown
TE - Kendall Karr
CB - Cam’Ron Kelly (graduate)