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Penn State football transfer portal target flips commitment from Big Ten foe

A former Penn State transfer portal target has flipped his commitment one week after pledging to a Big Ten rival.



Penn State football, transfer portal, Tony Grimes, Michigan State
Jan 2, 2021; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Carolina Tar Heels defensive back Tony Grimes (20) celebrates a sack on Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Kellen Mond (11) during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State football has made a splash in the transfer portal in recent weeks, nabbing multiple high-profile players, including several in the defensive backfield. On Sunday, one top portal target who visited State College this month, former five-star CB Tony Grimes, announced that he is set to enroll at UNLV in the Mountain West. The decision comes a week after Grimes was set to transfer to the Nittany Lions’ Big Ten foe Michigan State.

Former Penn State transfer portal target Tony Grimes flips commitment from Michigan State to UNLV

Tony Grimes emerged as a potential top transfer portal target for Penn State football after the Nittany Lions’ Peach Bowl loss to Ole Miss in December. James Franklin and his staff were quick to get Grimes on campus, hosting the former five-star CB on January 5.

But it quickly became evident that Grimes would not be a fit in Happy Valley. One day after visiting Penn State, Grimes popped up on campus at Michigan State. He committed to new head coach Jonathan Smith and the Spartans that same day. 

However, the former five-star CB will ultimately not end up in the Big Ten at all. On Sunday, 247Sports National Recruiting Analyst Brian Dohn reported that Tony Grimes was flipping his commitment from Michigan State to UNLV. Dohn notes that Grimes’s commitment to Michigan State fell through at the last minute. 

A five-star prospect in the class of 2020, Grimes played three seasons at North Carolina before transferring to Texas A&M last season, where he redshirtted. 

Nittany Lions still added key pieces from the portal

Ultimately, Penn State football ended up just fine, even without Tony Grimes. The Nittany Lions added two CBs, AJ Harris and Jalen Kimber, from the transfer portal. Both players were highly touted recruits out of high school. 

The Nittany Lions also added two of Pennsylvania’s former top recruits via the portal in Ohio State WR Julian Fleming and Wisconsin OL Nolan Rucci. By far the most significant transfer portal class James Franklin has signed to date, Penn State hopes this infusion of talent will help revamp the roster after losing several key pieces from its 2023 roster.

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Matt is a co-owner and Editor in Chief of Basic Blues Nation. Launched in 2022, Basic Blues Nation is one of the fastest-growing websites covering all Penn State athletics, with over 3.5 million readers in 2023. Matt is also a credentialed member of the Penn State football beat, and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America.


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