When it comes to recruiting rankings and national recognition, Mississippi defensive end Jeffery Simmons has skyrocketed in the last few months.
He moved from unranked to No. 56 in the Rivals100 after his performance at Nike’s The Opening and the camp circuit over the summer.
In the season opener for Noxubee County in Macon, Miss., he had 17 tackles, five sacks, five hurries, three defended passes, a fumble victory and a blocked field. He suddenly was the No. 1 recruit overall in the state of Mississippi by the 247Sports Composite rankings.
The notice continued Monday when he was presented with an honorary jersey for the U.S. Army All-American Game during a stop on the Selection Tour presented by American Family Insurance.
“I went to The Opening, I worked out on my own, worked out with my team and just did a lot of extra work,” he said. “The amount of work I did, I feel it paid off and now it shows on Friday nights.”
Simmons said he focused on “a little bit of everything” in his regimen.
“I wanted to work on the things that I knew would benefit me during the season like my hand placement and my overall explosiveness,” he said. “Coming of the edge, I’m probably one of the best rushers in the state or the country because I have that speed and have been learning how to use my hands.”
Simmons is 6-4, 270 and already has the size of a college defensive end. The next question is whether, with a couple of years in the weight room, does he blossom into a three technique defensive end?
Where his college plans take him remains undetermined, although he is highly coveted.
In late August, Simmons said he was considering his official visits to Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Alabama, Auburn and LSU, although he said Monday that he has no visits scheduled yet. He also said he has no favorites, no front-runners and no real list.
“I’m still open to everybody and just keeping my options open,” he said. “I have no favorites for now. If staying in state is good for me, I’ll do it. If the better options are outside the state, I’ll do that.”
Simmons said he would like to make his announcement at the Army game Jan. 9 in San Antonio, but only if he feels ready.
After his monster opener, Simmons made an unofficial visit to Alabama.
“The atmosphere when you walk into the stadium, and all the fans; it was crazy out there,” he said. “Some of the guys who already committed, I already knew some of them so it worked out pretty good to go visit.”