- The Washington Times - Friday, November 27, 2009

BLACKSBURG, Va. | By the end of the day Sunday, voters for the All-ACC football teams have to submit their ballots. A nominee they’ll consider for defensive player of the year is Virginia Tech outside linebacker Cody Grimm.

Yes, the same Cody Grimm who was barely recruited out of Oakton High School, who went to Virginia Tech as a walk-on. The same Grimm who was considered a better prospect in lacrosse than football.

Grimm, a son of former Redskins offensive lineman Russ Grimm, has had a sensational senior season for the Hokies, who think their candidate is the candidate for defensive player of the year.

“He’s had a phenomenal year, and I’ll stand on a table for him being defensive player of the year,” defensive coordinator Bud Foster said. “Why not? Is there anyone who’s done the things he’s done?”

No one this year did what Grimm did against N.C. State - tying a Division I record by forcing three fumbles.

“The guy is amazing to me,” coach Frank Beamer said. “I’ve never seen him get tired. He just kind of keeps going at the same speed all the time.”

Going into Saturday’s regular-season finale at Virginia, Grimm leads the Hokies in tackles with 93. He has had nine tackles for a loss and seven sacks. He has also forced an NCAA-leading seven fumbles.

It has all the makings of a Rudy-like story - except Grimm is not playing above his head. The 5-foot-11 Grimm has filled out to 200 pounds, and he has a decent chance of making the Grimms a two-generation NFL family.

“The pro scouts come here and they ask me, where can he fit?” said Jim Cavanaugh, Virginia Tech’s assistant in charge of outside linebackers. “I think he can be a nickel guy, closer to the line. I tell them he can be on all your special teams. He can run your special teams and not be intimidated by anything. He has no fear.

“He has a personality, great confidence, a quiet confidence. He has a football mind. He gets it. And he’s very gifted physically. You look at him, you don’t see that. He’s fast, he’s quick, he has good body mechanics. Then he has a gift. He has an instinctive knack of slipping people.

“He’s a heck of a player and a great influence [on younger players].”

Teammates have come to appreciate just how much Grimm means to the Hokies. Cavanaugh said time in the meeting room is smoother and easier this season, mostly because Grimm is in there. And that extends to the field, too.

“Cody does it every single game, every single down,” senior safety Kam Chancellor said. “It’s like the ball just loves Cody. He always gets to the ball. He has a knack for contact, for the big hit.”

Said sophomore linebacker Barquell Rivers: “I saw it this spring, he hit a running back and it was like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ Against Duke, he took on a pulling guard and knocked the guy 5 yards back on his butt. He plays a lot bigger than what he’s listed as weighing.”

Grimm gave hints of this last year. Despite starting just one game, he finished third on the team in tackles with 71. He had 14 tackles for a loss, including 7.5 sacks. A knee injury to fellow outside linebacker Kam Martin opened the way for Grimm to play more this year.

“I figured I’d have a pretty solid year,” Grimm said. “I just go out and try to do my job and let stuff come to me.”

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