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Shayne Simon, the No. 3 safety in the East, is planning trips to several Big Ten, SEC, ACC and Pac-12 schools, but Saturday he began his spring visit schedule with a local stop.
The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Simon spent the day at Rutgers, which is recruiting him with a twist from the other schools. He Michigan, Ohio State, UCLA, Stanford, Tennessee and North Carolina were among the list of schools he plans to visit.
"I don't have a timeline for when I'm going to cut things down," Simon said. "Schools like me as a safety or linebacker."
In Rutgers, Simon is being recruited as an athlete, with an eye on playing receiver.
"There is no really (position) I like better or worse," Simon said. "As long as I can get on the field and help the team win, I'm down with it."
Simon spent time at practice watching drills and examining how the coaches react with the players.
"I saw a lot of lot energy, the players competed a lot, and you can tell they're improving," Simon said. "That's the vibe you get from the players, how everyone is going 100 miles per hour. I hadn't seen a practice before, but that is what you hear from the players, and they looked pretty good to me when I was out there."
Simon is a priority for Rutgers in the 2018 class, and he speaks regularly with the coaching staff.
"A lot of it is staying home, and being able to keep New Jersey talent home," Simon said. "It would be a cool thing to watch ...to see the state school be successful. They're building a whole new mindset, a whole new era, so it would be cool to be a part of something like that."
A decision is not close for Simon, who continues to speak to a lot of schools.
Michigan, for one, is pushing the comfort of going from the North Jersey prep scene to Ann Arbor. Lead recruiter Chris Partridge, the former Paramus (N.J.) Catholic coach, is in constant contact with Simon.
"I talk to coach Partridge a lot, and we just talk about regular every-day stuff as well as being up there," Simon said. "He talks about the defenses, and also their draft numbers. They are going to have (about) 14 guys get drafted this year, and that is ridiculous."
Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano is also recruiting Simon hard.
"I talked to him almost every day about regular stuff, and he talks to me about the draft as well," Simon said. "He talked pro day and how a lot of those guys are going to be first-round picks this year in the NFL draft.
"He's down to earth. We talk about regular stuff, not anything too crazy. We're communicating, and we're building a relationship. He is not pushing me at all. It's just good communication."
Although dates are not set, trips to UCLA and Stanford are high on Simon's list.
Both schools extended offers, and Bruins assistant coach Scott White piqued Simon's interest.
"I know they have a history of people going to the draft as well," Simon said. "I know they're getting better and better in the Pac-12. I know about the USC-UCLA rivalry, where they are making a name for themselves."
Stanford came into New Jersey and landed receiver Donald Stewart in the 2016 class, and the combination of physical football and elite academics made Simon take notice.
"They're success in football ...people just think of them as an academic school, but the past few years under coach (David) Shaw, they've been dominating the Pac-12," Simon said. "It's not just an academic school. They're a legit football school."
At North Carolina, assistant coach Chad Scott paints a nice picture of life on the Chapel Hill campus.
"He's great," Simon said. "We talk about everything from life to football, and how North Carolina has people going to the next level, and how if you want it, you can help build a whole new thing for North Carolina.
"They've had success recently where they were able to turn the corner in the ACC, and he's been telling me how they're doing that, how they're building a new sort of (mantra) at North Carolina."
Tennessee recently started showing interest in Simon, whose contact is former Michigan coach and Vols defensive line coach Brady Hoke.
"Where he's been at in terms of Michigan, and how he recruited Jabrill Peppers there, is (significant)," Simon said. "We've been talking lately about how they are on the up-and-up, and how football down there is different. They have whole different mindset down there, and just playing that competition is something that is intriguing."