One minute, Derrion Grim was in a stacked receivers room, a young gun learning his craft and trying to fight his way into the playing rotation. The next, Grim was the old guy in there with all of 27 games, 20 career receptions and two touchdowns in the bank.
It flipped that fast for the Fresno State Bulldogs and Grim, a senior from Stockton.
“It’s pretty wild,” he said.
But this spring, Grim is intent on being a resource for the Bulldogs’ young wideouts as KeeSean Johnson, Jamire Jordan and Da’Mari Scott were for him when he first got to Fresno State as a transfer from Nebraska and San Joaquin Delta Junior College.
“When Da’Mari was here, he didn’t really talk much,” Grim said. “He was pretty quiet. But when I talked to him about football, he would talk.
“KeeSean, for sure, was the one. If I needed help I’d go over to KeeSean and I’d talk to him. I’d talk to Jamire a lot, too, because he was at my position. I can be that leader inside the receivers room. When they need help, need to know, ‘Hey, what do I do on this route if they’re playing this inside technique?’ they can come to me. I’ll walk through it with them and tell them, ‘This is what you do, this what you don’t do.’“
There are bound to be a few questions.
In that receivers room, even 20 career receptions play large. The others in the group are sophomores Patrick Elima-Jeune, Chris Coleman and Zane Pope, redshirt freshmen Emoryie Edwards and Ricardo Arias and freshman Rodney Wright III along with senior walk-on Frank Dalena, junior Kevin Parker and redshirt freshman Erik Brooks.
Coleman played in nine games last season and caught four passes and everyone else has yet to catch a pass at the FBS level, though Elima-Jeune did get some time on special teams and returned three kickoffs.
There is talent, which receivers coach Kirby Moore and offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb will sort through the spring as the Bulldogs delve into their strengths and a best offense after losing quarterback Marcus McMaryion, Johnson, Jordan and a wealth of talent at the wideout positions after a 12-2 season highlighted by a Mountain West Conference championship and Las Vegas Bowl win.
“These guys, they might not have played in a game, but they’re running full speed like they have,” Grim said. “That’s a good sign.”
The group needs to milk everything it can from 15 spring practices.
“It’s more building daily habits, building our standard in the receivers room,” Moore said. “The more reps they can get the faster they can play. We don’t want them thinking on the field and so that goes with the film room, walk-throughs, staying on the field doing extra work, and those guys are doing a nice job.
“They got quite a bit in fall camp (last season), but then you get into the season and obviously those reps get cut back – the guys who are playing quite a bit are getting those reps. But they’d still be in the film room, they’d still be in there taking notes. Even if they were working with the scout team, they’d still come up on Tuesday and Wednesday and watch film with us. They just weren’t getting the reps on the field.”
Grim will be one to watch, maintaining the explosion at the ‘X’ position where Jordan last season averaged 16.1 yards on 27 receptions and was on the end of six explosive pass plays of 20 or more yards including an 86-yard touchdown against San Diego State.
Grim has the speed and explosiveness to blow the top off coverages and routes that, Moore said, have a lot of personality.
“The biggest thing for Derrion every day is just leading by example and doing all the little things right,” Moore said. “I think other guys obviously are going to see that and see the importance of that, because those things add up.
“We want to get the deep posts and deep go’s and it all starts with the right alignment, with assignment, and then certain techniques and then the big play develops. But it’s all those little things that add up to the big play down the field.”