Notre Dame, IN (UHND.com) – All season long the Irish passing game has been looking for a third option at wide receiver. On Saturday, they found one with David Grimes turning in his best performance of his young career at Notre Dame with an eight catch, 79 yard outing against UCLA.
Heading into this past weekend’s contest with UCLA, Grimes had just five catches for 55 yards in five games as the third receiver in the Notre Dame offense. The sophomore receiver eclipsed those numbers against the Bruins and began to establish himself as a viable weapon in the Irish offense.
When asked about the play of Grimes against UCLA, Charlie Weis noted, “I think more importantly than that, what it did is, it gives Brady another weapon,” at his Sunday press conference.
Notre Dame has lacked a third option at receiver all year with Grimes struggling with some minor injuries and the other receivers struggling to make an impact. If Grimes can use the UCLA as a spring board for the rest of the season, he help open up the field for Jeff Samardzija and Rhema McKnight.
On Wednesday, quarterback Brady Quinn commented on Grimes breakout performance as well, stating, “We knew they were going to bracket Jeff and take him away. As long as they bracket Jeff and Rhema, it forces you to use your tight end and outside receiver and Darius. That’s something we obviously did.”
By having a performance were he made a number of big catches, Grimes will force opposing defense to account for him. Outside of Samardzija and McKnight, Notre Dame receivers this year haven’t had too much attention paid to them because of the lack of production outside of the two starters.
While Grimes’ numbers, 8 catches for 79 yards, aren’t exactly eye-popping, they are a good sign for this offense as Notre Dame heads down the stretch this season.
The Notre Dame offense has struggled at times in part because of a lack of depth at the skill positions. I’ve written extensively about the need for greater depth at running back this season, but the receiver position is in almost as bad of shape depth wise.
Outside of Samardzija and McKnight, Notre Dame has very little experienced depth at receiver and with both Samardzija and McKnight in their final years of eligibility, it puts the Irish in a precarious situation at receiver.
While recruiting at the receiver position if off to a good start with the commitment of Duval Kamara and the potential commitments of prospects like Arrelious Benn and Greg Little, its never a good thing to be completely reliant on freshmen at any position which makes the development of Grimes and the other receivers a rather important goal for the remainder of the season.
The next step for Grimes will be to put a couple of games like Saturday together back to back and perform at that level on a consistent basis and while his performance against UCLA is a good start, it is just that – the start. Hopefully the start of a very promising career for Grimes.