Like many players who have visited the schools where they have an interest, Jimmy Jr. believes that when he has an opportunity at camp to demonstrate his skills, he will have a much clearer picture of college by the end of July. "I have played football since first grade, and wanted to play college football since third grade," Graves told Indiana Varsity Scout.
Having grown up playing on the offensive side of the ball, a running back was where it seemed Jimmy Graves Jr. would make his impact. But, because of his physicality and desire, he was moved last season to the defensive side of the football. Jimmy Jr. plays in Indiana's toughest football conference - the MIC. North Central did not have a banner year and just replaced their head coach. Graves said it was possible, because of his skills, that he could play both ways, which is quite uncommon in Indiana big school football.
Graves played out of position last fall as a corner, not that he didn't learn a lot about defending the pass. "We played a lot of man to man and some cover 3. As a 200+ pound corner, one of my strengths was coming off stalk blocks and making a tackle," Graves admitted. He has put on 15 pounds of muscle and not lost his speed. Many scouts have evaluated him as a strong safety or even outside linebacker.
His camp schedule includes schools as far away as Iowa (more than a moderate interest), and then coming back from the west he will also visit Illinois. Jimmy Jr. will make stops at Indiana, Purdue, and Ball State and then head east. He will visit Cincinnati, Kentucky and Ohio State. All in all, that makes 8 schools in about 10 days. The Jimmy Graves Jr. Whirlwind Tour begins about the 2nd week of June.
All of this summer activity comes with a price as he also plans to get ready for a better season with his North Central Panthers, who, as a team, plan to improve on the lone win they accomplished in 2008. "We already have drawn equipment for summer camp and, starting the first week of June, we are into high school summer camp which is way ahead of last year," Graves noted enthusiastically. "If we stay focused and keep positive, we will be good," he added.
Like most D1 hopefuls, the summer will be full of football, but he summed up his hope by simply saying, "I love to hit and roam across the middle. I think they are moving me to strong safety…I know I can bring it and knock some heads." Before the Jimmy Graves high school season starts, he wants to prove he can play at the next level and will go on his whirlwind tour soon to prove his point.