Five-star cornerback Tony Grimes is committing to North Carolina, he announced Tuesday evening.

Grimes chose UNC over Georgia, Ohio State and Texas A&M. His commitment helps bolster what is shaping up to be a historic recruiting class for the Tar Heels.

Grimes, who is 6-1 and 180 pounds, is ranked No. 7 overall in the Class of 2021 and the top cornerback in the country, according to 247Sports’ Composite Rankings. He would be the highest-ranked recruit UNC has landed since signing former five-star defensive end Donte Moss in 2009, and the second-highest ranked recruit since signing Marvin Austin in 2007.

Grimes finished his junior season at Princess Anne High School in Virginia Beach, Va., with 48 tackles and four interceptions, according to the Virginia Pilot. Grimes, who played some on offense, also finished with 715 all-purpose yards and 12 touchdowns.

Secondary is expected be one of the Tar Heels’ deepest positions next season. However, after 2020, the Tar Heels will lose at least one of their top cornerbacks in senior Patrice Rene. That would leave an opening for Grimes to possibly contribute immediately.

Since Mack Brown was hired in November 2018, UNC has steadily improved on the recruiting trail. The Tar Heels’ 2019 recruiting class was ranked 30th in the country, their 2020 class was ranked 19th, and their 2021 class was ranked fourth prior to Grimes’ commitment on Tuesday.

The only teams ranked higher than UNC were Ohio State, Clemson and Tennessee.

Including Grimes, UNC has three players ranked in the top 100 in the country. They include Myers Park quarterback Drake Maye (No. 48), and Keeshawn Silver (No. 62), a defensive end from Rocky Mount.

Brown was known for his recruiting prowess in his first stint at UNC. He helped land former UNC defensive end Julius Peppers in 1997 before Brown’s move to Texas. Peppers was recently named as a finalist for the College Football Hall of Fame.

Brown’s success on the recruiting trail has apparently carried over as he has put an emphasis on staying close to home. Fourteen of the Tar Heels’ 17 commits are from North Carolina. Grimes lives less than four hours from Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels have also benefited from a winning season and a five-win improvement in Brown’s first season there.

Brown, who won a national championship at Texas in 2005, wants to do the same at UNC.

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UNC’S PAST RECRUITING CLASS RANKINGS

2020: No. 19

2019: No. 30

2018: No. 20

2017: No. 29

2016: No. 32

2015: No. 28

2014: No. 30

2013: No. 28

2012: No. 41

2011: No. 18

2010: No. 23

2009 No. 12

2008 No. 30

2007: No. 10

2006: No. 26

2005: No. 49

2004: No. 28

2003: No. 18

2002: No. 49

2001: No. 37

2000: No. 44

1999: No. 1

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