McKeesport Duo Officially Visiting Iowa

McKeesport Area High will send a pair of strong defenders on official visits to Iowa this weekend. Delvon Simmons and Branden Jackson also took in Rutgers together and likely will see Oregon at the same time. So, are they headed to the same school? Their coach talks about the chances.

McKeesport Area High School in Pennsylvania is well known for producing wins and college prospects. This year is no different.

The Tigers boast a dynamic defensive duo in the Class of 2011. Many of the nation's top programs are bucking for the opportunity to land it.

Branden Jackson and Delvon Simmons are close. They're close enough to seriously consider playing together in college.

"At the end of the day, they're going to do what's best for them," McKeesport Coach Jim Ward said. "It could go either way. I would say that they're leaning towards signing at the same school, but I wouldn't go any farther than that."

The Tiger teammates already have officially visited Rutgers together, Ward said. They've scheduled an official to Iowa for this coming weekend. They've tentatively set up an official visit together to Oregon for Nov. 6. Jackson officially visited Texas Tech by himself.

"Each school they visit together, there's sincere interest in that school from both players," Ward said. "It's not a tag-along. They're sincerely interested in Rutgers, Iowa and Oregon. That's why they visited or are going to visit them together."

Ward said that both players are open about their recruitment with no favorites having emerged. The coach and his athletes plan to assess the process when they return from Oregon.

"We talked at length about this the other day," Ward said. "After Oregon, Branden will be down to one official visit left and Delvon will have two. I'm certainly not going to rush them into a decision because that usually ends up being the wrong one. But I do want them to understand that schools do have timelines and the scholarships get taken by other players."

Wade calls Jackson's length, athleticism and burst his best assets. The TIgers list him at 6-4, 225 and the coach feels like he can play OLB in a 3-4 or end in a 4-3. His frame probably could hold up to 255 pounds, Ward said.

"He covers for us and we also send him off the edge," Ward said. "He's explosive. It's gotten to the point where people don't go his way. He's got an opportunity to go to the next level and be great."

Simmons might not get as much attention as does Jackson from recruiting services, but one gets the sense that Ward thinks the payers' potential is equal.

"In my opinion, he's emerged as one of the top defensive tackle prospects in the country," the coach said. "He disengages, he uses his hands well and he runs sideline to sideline at 6-7, 280 pounds. He has a very high ceiling and has a chance to be a great one." ranks Jackson as a four-star recruit on its five-star scale and tabs him as the No. 8 outside linebacker in the country for 2011. The service lists Simmons as a three-star prospect and 51st at defensive tackle.

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