The only thing Shane Simmons might like more than football is food. Last weekend the Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha Catholic 2015 defensive end got the best of both worlds when he made the trip to State College for his first visit to Penn State.
"I would probably say my favorite part of the campus is the creamery. The ice cream place there, it is so so good, I got the cookies and cream ice cream…it was the best ice cream I've ever had."
Oh and the rest of his visit? That wasn't too shabby either. The 6-foot-4, 225-pounder had glowing reviews about the campus, the staff, and the facilities.
"It was just awesome all around, there were no negatives with anything," said Simmons, who holds offers from Florida State, Texas A&M, Maryland, Ohio State and South Carolina, among others. "I liked it all. It is a great program and it's ranked high up there for me."
The four-star standout arrived on campus and he kicked off his day with a warm reception from the entire Penn State staff.
"When I first walked in the whole coaching staff was in the lobby. They were all really excited to meet me," Simmons said. "Coach [James] Franklin was standing right in the middle [of the coaches] so I talked to him for a while, and I talked to coach [Charles] Huff a lot also.
"Coach [James] Franklin was just saying that J I've gotten bigger since the last time he had seen me when he was Vandy," Simmons said. "He [Franklin] said he likes how I am growing out my hair… and he is jealous of me. We had a good conversation about the location [of Penn State] and how my family can see every game since it's just two hours away and [he talked to me about] how good the academics are there.
Simmons also spent a lot of time with his recruiting coach Charles Huff, and he appreciated Huff's "straight up" approach to developing his players as athletes and as men.
"The one thing he [Huff] said that really caught my attention was he said he didn't just care about the athlete part," Simmons said. "He [Huff] cares about the person I am becoming, like how I act, how I behave, and how I grow up as a man."
Simmons did get a chance to talk some serious football with his position coach Sean Spencer, who shared his philosophy about keeping his players fresh throughout the physically demanding Big Ten schedule.
"I talked to coach "Chaos" [Spencer], the defensive line coach, for a while. He said that I've gotten bigger too since the last time he saw me," Simmons said. "He talked about his philosophy, and how he likes to rotate his players a lot. He [Spencer] said his thing is that instead of going 65-straight plays a game, he wants to cut that down a lot so when the Big Ten Championship comes around, everyone isn't so banged up compared to other lineman. He wants to rotate eight instead of four lineman, plus if you are a starter you get more time anyway. I liked that a lot."
Since it was Simmons' first trip to Penn State, he had a lot to see. He toured everything from the campus, to the academics, and of course, the athletic facilities.
"The campus is really nice. We went on a tour, and saw the [football] stadium… it is huge, I really liked it" Simmons said. "I liked the weight room, their locker is really cool too, and the uniforms are great…really clean, I like that."
Simmons also spent some time hanging out with several of the current Penn State commits, such as Adam McLean, Jonathan Holland, Ayron Monroe, and others, during his visit. Simmons said the current Penn State commits didn't put too much pressure on him to jump on the bandwagon, but there was definitely some gentle nudging.
"It was fun hanging out with my friends there, those guys are really cool," Simmons said. "Yeah they were trying [to get me to commit], but they know the whole process so they know I am just taking my time with this and enjoying it right now. It is kind of stressful though."
Overall, Simmons was blown away with his first experience at Happy Valley and even though it was only his first visit, it was already starting to feel like a place he could call home.
"That was my first time up there, but the big thing that stuck out to me was that they stressed family a lot," and I really need that in a program… for it to feel like home to me. It was really good."
The past month has been quite a whirlwind for the four-star defensive end, who visited nearly ten schools in June alone, but now he is turning is focus to his high school season.
"I am done with trips, done with camps, and right now I am just focusing on DeMatha football," Simmons said. "I am just letting everything fall in to plan and just letting everything flow right now."
Simmons Raves About PSU Visit
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