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Former Regina standout to walk on at Iowa

[ 0 ] July 8, 2012 |

Former Regina standout Berkley Grimm had a good thing going as a member of the North Dakota state football team.

In addition to being on a partial scholarship, he played last season as a true freshman at fullback and on special teams, helping the Bison win the Football Championship Subdivision national title.

He was expected to play a more significant role this fall, but off the field, Grimm was battling a serious case of homesickness.

“I was nine hours away,” Grimm said of the North Dakota State campus, which is in Fargo, N.D. “I was far away from home. I was always missing my family.

“I didn’t realize how much I loved Iowa City until I left.”

Grimm has since transferred from North Dakota State and now is planning to join the Iowa football team this season as a preferred walk-on.

“I’ve always wanted to play for Iowa,” Grimm said Sunday afternoon. “I’m not trying to put North Dakota State down or anything. It’s a great program.

“I just didn’t like it up there.”

Grimm said he made his decision to leave North Dakota State late in the spring semester. He then had the difficult task of telling the coaches.

“It was very hard,” Grimm said. “It was very emotional. It was really hard to say good-bye to those guys.”

The 6-foot, 235-pound Grimm was a star fullback and linebacker for Regina’s 2010 state champion team. He also played soccer for Regina and still plays the sport with his friends on a regular basis to stay in shape and to improve his quickness for football.

Regina football coach Marv Cook, who was an All-America tight end at Iowa in 1988, is optimistic that Grimm can play fullback at the BCS level.

“He’s got all the tools as far as the ability to block,” Cook said. “His strength is good, and he can catch the ball and run effectively.”

Grimm said he probably would’ve tried to walk-on the Iowa football team directly out of high school if his grades had been better.

The coaching staff at Regina in addition to Cook also includes former Iowa receiver Ed Hinkel and former Hawkeye defensive ends Jason Dumont and Alex Kanellis.

“They thought I could play at that level right out of high school,” Grimm said of the Regina coaches. “It’s just my grades weren’t up to that because I would have walked on (at Iowa).

“My grades weren’t horrible. They just weren’t good enough to get into Iowa.”

Grimm said he still hasn’t spoken to any member of the Iowa coaching staff since transferring from North Dakota State.

He began to seriously consider walking on the Iowa football team after being accepted as a student at the University of Iowa. Grimm said transferring to Iowa became an option after he improved his academic standing during his two semesters at North Dakota State.

Grimm put together a highlight film and gave it to Hinkel, who then reportedly gave it to Iowa running backs coach Lester Erb.

Grimm learned shortly after exchanging the highlight tape that he would be allowed to join the team as a preferred walk-on.

“At the end of the last semester, I had made up my mind that I wasn’t going to come back,” Grimm said. “So I applied to Iowa just to get into school. And I got in. And I still to this day haven’t talked to anyone from Iowa.”

Grimm said he wants to play fullback when he becomes eligible for the 2013 season. He also thinks he could be used as a scout-team linebacker in practice this fall.

“I live for contact,” Grimm said.

Grimm will have to sit out the 2012 season under NCAA transfer rules. He would have three seasons of eligibility beginning in 2013 after playing as a true freshman.

Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Pat Harty: Columnist Pat Harty has been covering the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Press-Citizen since 1991. Originally from Des Moines, he currently writes columns and covers Hawkeye men's basketball for Hawk Central. View author profile.

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