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Gorman: Bethel Park's Grimm is WPIAL's next big lineman

| Sunday, July 22, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Mike Grimm Jr. topped 200 pounds by fourth grade and reached 6-foot by sixth grade, so the Bethel Park left tackle is used to being a big deal.

At 6-foot-7, 315 pounds, he promises to be the most coveted WPIAL offensive lineman in the Class of 2014.

“I feel like there's going to be a lot of pressure,” he said, “that I have a lot to live up to, this expectation of being an animal all the time.”

The son of a powerlifter/bodybuilder already is a weight-room warrior. Grimm power-cleans 285 pounds, benches 370 and squats 550. And he's still growing.

Size runs in Nanette Fornadel's family. She stands nearly 6-1 and threw the discus and shot put at West Virginia and James Madison. Her brothers played college football — Ed at West Virginia, Mike and Paul at James Madison and Matt at Penn State.

Mike Jr. is on his way to joining them, with scholarship offers from Pitt and Youngstown State.

He's working on becoming more aggressive this season.

“That's really hard because I've always been told I have to be gentle with little kids because of how big I am,” Grimm said. “It's hard to go from being told you can't do that, to being told to be aggressive all the time. I try not to be aggressive all the time, just on the football field.”

Grimm also is working on improving his footwork, which is why he's spending the summer jumping rope, a speed ladder and dot mat and working on plyometrics.

“My feet weren't great, but I've always been a big, strong kid. I work on it a lot, every day, all the time,” Grimm said. “I basically want to dominate the WPIAL and our conference and become an all-around better player.”

Grimm started as a sophomore but found that upperclassmen avoided bull-rushing him. Instead, they used head-fakes and quick moves to get past him.

“Even just from watching film, comparing my games from beginning of season to end, there was a big change in my pass blocking and run blocking,” Grimm said. “It was a big difference, playing against kids that weren't as big as me but just as strong and getting (Division I) looks.”

Now, Grimm is getting his own D-I looks.

“It's really fun, but at the same time, it's stressful,” Grimm said.

Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at kgorman@tribweb.com or 412-320-7812.

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