The Florida Gators are set to lose most of their production at wide receiver from this season, thanks to that wide receiving corps being led by a group of seniors.
But Trevon Grimes won’t be heading to the NFL just yet, as he announced Wednesday evening that he would return for his senior season in orange and blue — and wants to complete his degree and lead the Gators to a championship.
One last ride Gator Nation.. pic.twitter.com/r1KrNkJdHZ— GrimeTime™ (@Trevongrimes8) January 1, 2020
Grimes returning for 2020 isn’t a total shock, especially given that quotes from teammates in recent weeks seemed to suggest he was likely to return rather than turn pro. While he has NFL-caliber talent, and would likely have been selected in the 2020 NFL Draft, Grimes would also have been jockeying for positioning with that outgoing senior quartet of Gators — Tyrie Cleveland, Van Jefferson, Josh Hammond, and Freddie Swain, all of whom harbor legitimate NFL hopes of their own — and the rest of an exceedingly deep class of wide receivers.
For perspective, Mel Kiper’s latest “Big Board” for ESPN ($) lists five wide receivers among his top 25 prospects in this year’s draft class, and slots in five more wideouts among his top 10 at the position without even mentioning a Gator. The third wide receiver selected in the 2019 NFL Draft was chosen early in the second round; the 13th was the first pick of the fourth round. This year, No. 3 will almost certainly go before the 20th pick overall, but No. 13 may need to distinguish himself from the rest of the talented crop to be a top-100 pick, as the run on wide receivers that happened late in the second round is unlikely to happen when more talented players are set to be available for much of the event.
For Grimes, waiting a year and giving himself a chance to be Florida’s lead receiver is wise.
And he really should be the Gators’ top target — at least among wideouts — in 2020. He finished fourth on the roster in receptions, yardage, and touchdowns in 2019, and the only other underclassman among Florida’s top six was tight end Kyle Pitts, whose gaudy numbers stand to improve less dramatically than Grimes’s should, as he was targeted far more often and didn’t really split targets at tight end. And Grimes could be one of just two wideouts who played regularly to return — depending on the choice of the mercurial Kadarius Toney, it might just be Grimes and redshirt sophomore Jacob Copeland leading Florida’s 2020 receiving corps — which would seem likely to make him (and Copeland) focal points of what should again be a pass-heavy offense with Kyle Trask at the helm.
And if Grimes balls out as a senior — say he catches 60 passes for 900 yards and a handful of touchdowns, reasonable numbers that would still lag behind what Fred Ross did as the No. 1 receiver under Dan Mullen at Mississippi State — he could very well play himself into contention for one of the top spots at wide receiver in the 2021 draft class, all while helping Florida contend for its first SEC title in more than a decade and chase a first College Football Playoff berth.
Sounds fun, right? No wonder Grimes called it “one last ride” in his announcement.