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Football: Grimes brothers renew family, school rivalry

Jay Fitzpatrick | Friday, September 21, 2007

In 2003, St. Martin De Porres High School had two standout wide receivers. Both were two-sport athletes. Both caught touchdown passes in the Michigan Division-8 Championship game.

And both were named Grimes.

For three seasons, Notre Dame wide receiver David Grimes and his older brother – Spartans red-shirt junior wide receiver Carl Grimes – played together at De Porres.

“It was pretty cool to look over [to the other side of the field] and your big brother’s right there,” David Grimes said. “We already spend all hours of our lives together, why not do it on the field?”

Now in college, the Grimes brothers will stand on opposite sidelines for the third time as their teams face off.

The Grimes brothers were dominant as wideouts for De Porres. In his senior season, Carl Grimes was De Porres’ top offensive threat, accumulating 1,200 yards of total offense – including 614 rushing yards on 69 carries – while missing five games with a bruised foot.

Carl Grimes also amassed 514 receiving yards on only 28 catches in De Porres’ 12-2 championship season in 2003.

His younger brother was no slouch either that season, hauling in an 80-yard touchdown pass in De Porres’ 20-9 win over Beal City in the title game.

David Grimes was named an honorable mention all-conference his junior season, while Carl Grimes was named to the all-state, all-Detroit and the all-Metro teams in his senior season.

But despite the lengthy list of accolades, David Grimes said his big brother was more important to him as a brother than as a teammate.

“[Carl helped me grow] not just as a wide receiver but as a person,” David said. “At a young age, he was the male figure in my life and I give him all the compliments and thanks in the world for that.”

Before signing with Michigan State as a senior, Carl Grimes was listed as a SuperPrep All-American and a top-10 recruit by the Lansing Journal (No. 5), Detroit News (No. 6) and Detroit Free Press (No. 9). Carl Grimes redshirted in 2004 with foot problems and has seven catches for 45 in his two full seasons at Michigan State.

David Grimes said even though his older brother went to Michigan State, he is not a Spartans fan.

“I wanted for him to do good, but when I made my decision to come to Notre Dame, I knew that we would be in a rivalry pretty soon so I didn’t want them to be that successful,” David Grimes said.

Notre Dame’s Grimes came into his own during his senior season as starting wide receiver and defensive back for De Porres. He was first team on the Detroit Free Press all-state dream team as a wide receiver in 2004, catching 48 passes for 800 yards and eight touchdowns. He also made 41 tackles and five interceptions.

David Grimes led De Porres back to the championship game, but the team fell 14-7 to Unionville-Sebewaing – this time in Division 7. David played well in the title game and returned a fumble 36 yards for De Porres’ only score.

Even though David Grimes has great respect for his brother, he knew that after high school he wanted to branch out and make a name for himself.

“I didn’t want to go to Michigan State to be ‘Carl’s little brother,'” David Grimes said. “I wanted to develop my own identity.”

And Carl Grimes was willing to help.

David Grimes said his big brother left the decision entirely up to him and did not try to convince him to go to Michigan State.

The younger Grimes was recruited beginning in 2004 by Notre Dame under then-head coach Tyrone Willingham. After Willingham’s firing, Charlie Weis continued the recruiting process.

David Grimes said Weis was the most important factor in his decision to join the Irish.

“He called me one day. He gave it to me real,” David said. “He said, ‘[You’re] gonna work and I plan on winning. And if you’re on board, you’re on board.’ And that’s all I needed to hear.”

Despite the rivalry, David Grimes said his family still roots for both brothers to do well.

“My mother and my family seem not to show any side,” he said. “They would prefer it just to be a good game. My mother predicted that the first time we played it would go to overtime and it did.”

With nail-biting finishes in 2005 and 2006, David Grimes said, emotions run even higher knowing that his brother is standing on the other sideline.

“It was pretty exciting to look over and see your brother,” he said. “Obviously the first year, they won and it wasn’t too exciting. But the second year it was pretty damn awesome.”