College football’s premier program has its sights set on Wilson County.
Alabama coach Nick Saban personally offered scholarships to Lebanon rising senior Zion Logue on Wednesday morning and Mt. Juliet junior-to-be Reggie Grimes on Tuesday, both in Tuscaloosa.
Both players have racked up offers this spring and summer as they have crisscrossed the country going from campus to campus for camps.
“It’s exciting from a competitive standpoint in our region and in our county,” Mt. Juliet coach Trey Perry. “When you’re talking about Alabama, you’re talking about a national brand.”
Both players have numerous offers from other programs with similar pedigrees. Grimes picked up an offer from Clemson last week. Projected as a defensive end/linebacker, he also has offers from Tennessee, Ole Miss, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Kentucky, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Purdue, Ohio State, Tulane, Memphis and Alabama.
Saban’s offer to Logue gave Lebanon’s tight end/defensive end, projected as a defensive tackle in college, seven from the Southeastern Conference and nearly 30 nationwide. Prior to the Crimson Tide, Logue was offered at Kentucky last weekend to join Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. Outside the SEC, his offers include, but not limited to, Virginia, Purdue, Memphis, Louisville, Toledo, Tulane, Southern Mississippi, Chattanooga, Tennessee State, Western Kentucky, UT-Martin, Central Michigan, Western Michigan, Texas State, Coastal Carolina, Minnesota, Nebraska and Eastern Kentucky.
Alabama measured Logue at 6-foot-5 and 290 pounds with a 78 1/2-inch wingspan.
“He played last year at 240-245 pounds,” Gentry said. “His speed, he’s running a 5.1 40 at this size. He’s upped his size but kept his speed and his athletic ability. All the coaches believe his best football is leaps and bounds ahead of him as his football catches up to his body and he quits growing..
“He’s 16-years old right now and still growing.”
As of last week, Grimes was listed at 6-5 1/4 and 220 pounds with a laser-measured 4.5 in the 40. He benches 260 pounds and squats 400.
Grimes played some running back for the Bears last season but has made a bigger splash on the defensive side. He could end up on either side.
“Most of them (college coaches) don’t care. They just see him as an athlete,” Perry said. “In general, they would say outside linebacker, defensive end and, offensively, anything from running back to wide receiver or H-back.”
Grimes would be a legacy signing for Alabama as his father, who has the same name, played for the Tide in the late 1990s before a brief stint with the New England Patriots. Reggie Grimes Sr. is also an MJHS assistant coach and accompanied his son not only to Tuscaloosa but Starkville to fulfill a promise to Mississippi State coaches to work out for them. They’re already back home to finish up June high school workouts before the two-week dead period begins this weekend.
“He and his dad showed up for workouts this morning ready to go like nothing had happened,” Perry said Wednesday afternoon. “I don’t know that they said a word about it.
“I don’t know if I could have done that.”
Perry said that has been typical for Grimes as he plays football and basketball and runs track for Mt. Juliet and still makes summer workouts for football and basketball.
Other Bears are also attracting attention from the next level.
Junior receiver Malik Bowen already has an offer from Rutgers and camped at Clemson last week.
“We think his SEC bubble is right around the corner,” Perry said.
Junior offensive tackle Zach Delfendall, whose brother D.J. is now at Middle Tennessee State, has received an offer from Austin Peay. Defensive back Michael Ruttlen camped at Vanderbilt last week. All four have high grade-point averages which have prompted interest from schools far and wide known for academics.
“We’ve never had Stanford on campus before (last) week,” Perry said.
As for Lebanon, Gentry said quarterback Chandler Crite has an offer from Southeast Missouri State and has drawn interest from practically all of SEMO’s Ohio Valley Conference rivals. He said Illinois State is prepared to make an offer when he visits the Normal, Ill., school. Also, senior offensive lineman Cade Baker has an offer from Division III Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati.