One of Alabama’s priorities on the edge for the 2016 cycle is Macon (Miss.) Noxubee County defensive end Jeffery Simmons, a Scout300 prospect with additional offers from Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Auburn, Vanderbilt and others.
The rising-senior was in Tuscaloosa on Tuesday to work out for Nick Saban and defensive line coach Bo Davis with his new 6-foot-4, 268-pound frame. Simmons played under 250 pounds as a standout junior.
“It went pretty well, I did drills with coach Davis and he was surprised with me,” he said. “I was in front of every drill and showed a lot of power coming off the ball and doing the drills right. I had a chance to do one-on-ones, I went at least seven or eight times, and won every last one of them. They really liked that.”
Simmons said the style of the Crismon Tide workouts, from the current team’s to the camp itself, stands out. His potential position coach, should he sign with Alabama, fits into that as well.
“Everything is fast, they don’t like to repeat things,” he said. “They tell you something one time, and they expect you to do it. Watching their guys working out, I rolled up with coach Davis and his defensive line, they know what he expected.
“It’s my style. If I’m going to go to your school or your camp, I want to be taught. He taught me hand placement, was a straight-up dude, telling me what to fix when I was wrong. I think he’s a pretty good coach. He was telling me I’m one of his top priorities, especially coming off the edge. He said he’s going to keep doing his job recruiting me and that he really wants me to be a part of the family.”
After the on-field work, one of the Magnolia State’s best got the chance to talk to the program leader.
“I had the chance to sit down again with coach Saban. It’s a highlight because many people, especially at camp, with over 300 kids there, don’t get it,” Simmons said. “Talking to him again was great, he was telling me he liked what he saw and that he had the chance to watch me do one-on-ones. He says I really fit into his program and that it’s the best fit for me.”
The busy Tuesday featured conversations with others while in Tuscaloosa as well.
“I had the chance to talk to big Willie, the big offensive tackle (Willie Allen). I know him from other camps,” he said. “For Alabama, I got the chance to talk to (D.J.) Pettway and (Jarran) Reed. Some of it was information, but they were telling me to keep working and that they were hearing good things about me. They told me to choose wisely.”
Simmons added Alabama’s positional plan for him could be on the edge as a JACK linebacker prospect or along the defensive front as a five-technique end ala Pettway. The news, time with coaches and players and camp experience all added up to a positive impression for the defending SEC champions.
“I don’t have any favorites, but I’m really kind of starting to like them more,” Simmons said. “If I ever choose them, I think it would be a good fit for me. If I do choose them, especially with my positon off the edge, I would probably be able to play my freshman year. That’s something I really want to do, to play my freshman year.”
In no rush to accelerate the process, Simmons isn’t planning on narrowing his list until just before his final high school campaign begins. A decision could come after the season, as he searches for a program based on the environment and relationship he has with the coaches at the school of choice.
In the short-term, he’ll join his Noxubee County teammates for seven-on-seven events at Mississippi State on Friday and Ole Miss on Saturday. Simmons would like to see LSU and Vanderbilt sometime this summer, too.