Photo: Westbrook Christian senior Hunter Grimes signed a football scholarship with the University of the South on Feb. 13. Pictured, sitting, from left: Hunter’s grandfather Dr. Larry Grimes, Hunter, Hunter’s grandmother Katie Grimes. Standing, from left: Hunter’s mom Jamie, Hunter’s dad Dee. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Hunter Grimes is headed to the Cumberland Plateau this fall.
On Feb. 13, the Westbrook Christian senior signed a football scholarship with the University of the South.
The 18,000-acre campus is located approximately two hours from Gadsden in Sewanee, Tenn.
Grimes sparked the Warrior ground game this past season with 1,362 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns. He was the program’s first 1,000-yard rusher in several years as Westbrook went 7-4 and made the Class 2A state playoffs for the second year in a row. Grimes was a first-team selection on the 2018 All-Messenger football team.
Grimes pointed out that playing college football was close to a last-minute descsion.
“During my whole senior year, I wasn’t planning on playing in college, but I realized how much I missed it a few weeks after the season ended. It helped that I saw a couple of my buddies on the Etowah football team keep playing for a while.”
A short time later, a Sewanee assistant coach invited Grimes and his parents to visit the campus, and it was love at first sight.
“My dad [Dee] had previously mentioned Sewanee to me because it was a great school for academics,” said Grimes, who is maintaining a 4.0 grade point average and is Westbrook’s student body president. “I fell in love with the campus, I fell in love with the school and I fell in love with the history of the football program.”
Grimes is considering studying marketing or business in college.
The Tigers finished 4-6 this past season, including a 3-5 record in the Division III Southern Athletic Association.
Grimes missed several games during his junior year due to hip and shoulder injuries, which made him appreciate the sport even more.
“I was really looking forward to getting back out on the field on Friday night and running the ball again. I really missed that feeling.”
Mintz said that Grimes’ 2018 rushing statistics are believed to be the second-highest in program history.
“Hunter will be the first one to tell you that he had the advantage of a great offensive line the last couple of years, which has made a tremendous difference in our ability to run the football. Hunter’s done everything that I’ve asked him to do, and he’s done it without complaint.
“He’s been a leader on the field and in the locker room. Hunter willed himself and our team to be successful – on the field, at practice and in the weight room. I don’t think I can pay him a higher compliment than that. He’s really has been a joy to coach.”