Zeph Grimes is from Bamberg, South Carolina, and plays for a legendary program at Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School. That school has a reputation for turning out star football players, and Grimes may be next in line.
Illinois defensive coordinator Vic Koenning and outside linebacker coach Ron West have recruited the school for a number of years and have developed a solid relationship with coaches there. It is that trust that will see Grimes visit the Illini campus this next month.
"Me and the coaches are planning to fly up there in March sometime," Grimes explains. "I don't know for sure when it will be in March."
Most of the schools recruiting Grimes are in the South, so an eagerness to travel North during colder weather is a good sign for the Illini. He says several schools are contacting him more frequently than others right now.
"Illinois, Tulsa, Michigan State, Arkansas, Ole Miss and Georgia Tech."
West appears to be the main contact for the Illini.
"I've talked with Coach Ron West. He's a cool coach. We weren't on the phone that long, but he said a lot of good things."
In his second year on varsity, Grimes put up some huge numbers on defense.
"I had 80 some tackles, 36 for a loss. I had like 22 sacks, four interceptions and three forced fumbles. I wasn't really satisfied with that because I think I could do better."
After saying that Grimes caught himself, preferring he come across as humble rather than arrogant.
"I was good on the defensive side, but it wasn't all about me. It was about the team. I don't want to be selfish."
Grimes has a passion for the game.
"If I had to explain myself in one word, it would be hungry. I love football, and I want to let teams know. I'm always after the ball."
Safety is the likely college position for the 6'-0", 200 pounder, but that is not his primary high school position.
"In our defensive scheme, I play a little bit of strong safety. But I play mostly at outside linebacker. And I play man coverage on receivers. That's just our scheme."
The consummate team player helped his school to an outstanding record in 2009.
"We had a good season. We were 10-2. We were in the second round of the playoffs. What I like best about football is teamwork. I like working with the guys."
Grimes hasn't had a college favorite growing up. He just loves football. But he wants more than just sports.
"I'm looking for the academics and not just football. I like working on my education. I want to major in business."