Jeffery Simmons, a key member of Mississippi State’s 2016 recruiting class, has been allowed to enroll at the school and participate in football activities “with conditions,” the university announced Thursday.
Among the conditions is a one-game suspension to start the season, an evaluation by the university’s School Counseling Services and completion of any program prescribed by that office.
A five-star signee from Noxubee County (Macon, Miss.) was arrested in late March and charged with misdemeanor simple assault after a video surfaced showing Simmons hitting a woman on the ground multiple times. Four others also were arrested as a result of the fight. Simmons has a court appearance scheduled for June 14.
According to the MSU news release, “in an effort to break up a domestic fight between his sister and another adult woman, he used physical force against one of those involved in the altercation.”
Simmons posted an apology on Facebook in the aftermath of the March 24 incident but then deleted it. He was arrested March 28.
Simmons was ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the state of Mississippi, the No. 3 weakside defensive end and the No. 19 player in the Class of 2016.
“Based on conversations our staff has had with school, community and church leaders in Noxubee County, this incident appears to be uncharacteristic of Jeffery,” Mississippi State athletic director Scott Stricklin said in a statement. “It’s a highly unique circumstance to administer discipline to a student for an incident that occurred prior to that individual joining our university. However, it’s important that Jeffery and other potential MSU students understand that these type of actions and poor decisions are not acceptable.
“We expect the structure and discipline Jeffery will be a part of in our football program to benefit him. Jeffery will be held accountable for his actions while at MSU, and there will be consequences for any future incidents.”
During spring football, coach Dan Mullen said the punishment — if any — did not fall solely on Mullen’s shoulders. He said then that “a lot of people” within the university will be involved in the decision.
SEC prevents schools from admitting transfers with a history of “serious misconduct,” but the regulations don’t apply to incoming freshmen.