Noxubee County | Defensive end
Stat breakdown: 107 tackles (59 solo), 14.5 tackles for loss, 15.5 sacks, 8 forced fumbles and 5 fumble recoveries as a junior.
Rankings: Four-star prospect by 247Sports and Scout, a three-star prospect by Rivals and the No. 3 player in The Clarion-Ledger’s Targeted 22
What makes him Dandy: It’s not hard to figure out why Simmons is considered the top defensive line prospect in Mississippi. At 6-foot-4, 270 pounds, the senior possesses a rare combination of size and speed that make him a dominant edge rusher. Before taking a snap as a senior in high school, Simmons already possesses a frame deemed college ready. Once Simmons establishes his first step and fires low off the ball, many left tackles he faces aren’t able to limit his ability to get to the quarterback. What’s scary is that Simmons isn’t done growing. He could easily put on 10 or 20 pounds by the time his freshman season of college football comes around and shift to play inside. Ideally that would mean transitioning to a 3-technique defensive tackle, but Simmons’ pure athleticism and physicality make him a strong candidate to continue on as a rushing defensive end at the next level. The way he’s able to maintain his frame and speed comes from hours in the weight room and participation in track and powerlifting. Noxubee County also relies on Simmons to switch over to tight end in the jumbo package/formation on offense.
Where he’s going: Simmons has visits scheduled to LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Auburn in July, but don’t expect the mega defensive lineman to rush into a decision anytime soon. Alabama has also been in heavy pursuit of Simmons as of late and will likely make a top 5 list he plans to release in the middle of the season. Due to all the attention he’s receiving and new schools constantly showing interest, Simmons says he could see himself waiting until National Signing Day before announcing where he’s headed.
Best time to catch him this fall: Aug. 21 vs. Starkville.With Simmons’ goal to break Mississippi high school football’s record for sacks in a season, the defensive end wants to make a statement in his first opportunity. The Yellowjackets were one of Noxubee County’s two losses last season and Simmons says he looks forward to facing elite two-way lineman Kobe Jones and wide receiver A.J. Brown.
What he said: “Coming off the edge and just getting to the football, that’s what I grew up on,” Simmons said. “It’s like going for gold, and the gold is the quarterback. Don’t stop until you get to the top.”
Worth noting: Simmons is the fourth player in Noxubee County history selected to the Dandy Dozen, joining former Mississippi State quarterback/receiver Omarr Conner (2002) and Ole Miss wide receivers Patrick Patterson (2008) and Vince Sanders (2009).
Contact Courtney Cronin at (601) 961-7091 or email@example.com. Follow @CourtneyRCronin on Twitter.