Reed Option Recruit Of The Week: Shane Simmons
This is the first installment in a new series that will feature a new Penn State football commitment or recruit each week. This week I’ll introduce one of the undisputed leaders of Penn State’s Class of 2016, defensive end Shane Simmons.
A 6’4”, 220-pound defensive end, Simmons is a force to be reckoned with on the field. His DeMatha Catholic Stags are 5-0 and are ranked nationally in the top ten of all high school teams. His highlight tape speaks for itself, and shows that Simmons is as athletic as they come. He has a rare combination of size and speed that makes him a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks. He described his game to me as, “strong and fast” and said he is best at stopping the run and containing on the outside. These traits, coupled with a mind for the game molded in part by former Penn State star linebacker LaVar Arrington, make Simmons a deadly weapon on the gridiron.
Simmons met Arrington as an eighth grader through a football league he was in called Grassroots Youth Football. The commissioner of the league introduced Arrington to the Simmons family and the two connected immediately. When asked what Arrington helped him to improve on the most, Simmons responded with, “To be humble… And how to be fast off the ball.”
As a recruit, Simmons has all the traits a coach could ask for on the field. What sets him apart from the usual star athlete though, are his intangibles. Simmons has been the leader of Penn State’s 2016 class since he committed on July 30 of last year. He says he gets his leadership from his parents, both of whom hold managerial positions in their occupations. His Twitter is a thread of pro-Penn State tweets and conversations with other recruits coaxing them to come to Penn State. He has helped draw Maryland recruits from their state school to come play for the Nittany Lions. When I asked him who he’s currently trying to recruit to Penn State, he responded, “A lot of younger kids at DeMatha: Chase Young, [Anthony] McFarland, and Khory [Spruill].”
Simmons, the second player to commit to Penn State in this recruiting cycle, turned out to be one of the most highly rated. He is a composite four-star player and was given a rating of 94 by 247 Sports. His ranking by ESPN is the most generous (and perhaps the most accurate), as he was given a fifth star as the No. 13 player in the class. His commitment was vital to the class’ success, showing other recruits that Penn State can recruit blue-chip players.
Simmons had offers from nearly every big football program in the country, and ultimately, his decision came down to Penn State, Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State, and Maryland. After being set to commit to Florida State, Simmons took a visit to State College and ended up loving it. When asked what specifically he loved, he responded simply, “It felt like home.” His interactions with fellow DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) recruits, such as then-commit Adam McLean and Ayron Monroe, allowed him to feel comfortable with the program and the campus.
Those who offered him aren’t the only ones to recognize his superb talent. Simmons represented Penn State at The Opening — a football competition in Beaverton, Oregon that brings together the top football players in the country on a national platform for three days. In January, Simmons will take the field as an Under Armour All-American in Orlando, Florida as well. Between now and January, however, Simmons hopes to take a visit to Penn State.
Franklin went after Simmons early in the recruiting process and has been rewarded handsomely for that decision. Simmons is going to look to continue Penn State’s dominance on the defensive line while recruiting players from his home state to join him in Happy Valley.