Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Penn State Nittany Lions [Print without images]

Wednesday, January 16, 2013
2014 OT Grimm talks combine, Penn State

By Josh Moyer

Mike Grimm (Bethel Park, Pa./Bethel Park) felt his palms sweat as he stepped in line for one-one-ones at the U.S. Army National Combine. He didn't know what to expect and felt uneasy around a group of unfamiliar faces.

The 2014 offensive tackle alternated between staring at the ground -- "That's how I was getting in the zone," he said -- and watching other players spar in the drills. The air was a cool 42 degrees outside but, inside the Alamadome, he felt comfortable.

Mike Grimm
Mike Grimm considers it an honor to receive a scholarship offer from Penn State.
And he started feeling more comfortable the more he won. The Penn State target earned a hard-fought victory in his first battle but slipped up against combine MVP Kentavious Street. Street flashed his speed, caught Grimm off-guard and ran around the end.

The next time, the second time, Grimm was prepared for the defensive end out of Greenville, N.C. Street tried the same move, but Grimm slid over and caught him. Street head-faked and tried to use a rip move to recover, but Grimm stuck his arms right in Street's ribs and neutralized the speedy defender.

"That was fantastic, actually," Grimm said with a laugh. "I was so excited, I didn't care if I won or lost. I knew I shut him down. ... I got a whole lot confidence from that combine."

Grimm, a soft-spoken offensive tackle from the Keystone state, said he sometimes receives 50 or 60 letters in one day. (His mom already has five binders loaded with recruiting letters.) But it was that combine, where he won 10 of 12 one-on-ones, that really showed him he could play with the best.

Some schools, like Pitt and Virginia, already knew as much. Both offered him scholarships, while Virginia Tech and Penn State told him they eventually would offer.

"I think it's more of an honor to receive one from Penn State, because they only have a certain amount to give," Grimm said, "so it's definitely up there -- higher than a lot of schools."

The Nittany Lions already have made his top five, along with Pitt, Alabama, Georgia and Maryland. He decided on that top five during his trip to San Antonio, when recruits and reporters kept pestering him about his favorites.

He took a day and a half to think about what he wanted in a school and those that seemed like the best fits. And he didn't have to think long about Penn State.

"I took into consideration the whole bowl game thing, but I put them up there because I like the new coaching staff," he said. "And, honestly, I'd love to play right away but, the first couple years, I don't plan on playing much. So as soon as I start to play, the whole sanctions thing is going to be over.

"I really think those sanctions shouldn't matter to you. So many kids rule them completely out, and I don't think it's fair, because the coaches there now didn't do anything."

Grimm said he was the first player out of Bethel Park ever to be invited to the combine. He felt pleased with his performance and said he gained a new sense of confidence (and a few pass-protection tips). But he's looking ahead to his recruitment now.

He plans to visit Pitt for its junior day, and he'll be in Happy Valley on Feb. 23 for Penn State's junior day.

"I'm just going to kind of let it come," he said. "I'm feeling good right now."

//