Simmons Headed to Iowa

Iowa added to its 2012 Recruiting Class on Thursday when Junior College Offensive Lineman Eric Simmons pledged to the Hawkeyes. Find out what he and his Iowa Western coach had to say about the decision in this story.

Eric Simmons sat his coach's office on Thursday morning in a mental fog. He couldn't wrap his mind around what was happening to him.

The Iowa Western Community College Offensive Lineman has just committed to the University of Iowa to play football shortly after receiving a scholarship offer. The Hawkeyes only began pursuing the former Madrid (Iowa) High standout for this year's class.

"I'm kind of in shock still," Simmons said. "It all just happened this morning. It hasn't really settled in. But, I'm ecstatic right now."

Simmons becomes the 18th known commitment in Iowa's 2012 recruiting class. The 6-foot-3, 295-pounder will have four years to play three at Iowa.

"(The Hawkeyes) are getting a great kid," Iowa Western Coach Scott Strohmeier said. "He's an unbelievable kid. He works extremely hard and developed into a really good leader. You have to give a lot of credit to the type of program they run at Madrid.

"Our job was easy. We got a great kid who maybe some people overlooked. He came in with a chip on his shoulder and wanted to prove something."

Simmons said that he didn't have an delusions while playing at Madrid. He knew getting to the top level of college football might require traveling an alternate path.

"Being from a small school, I kind of expected that," he said. "I didn't expect there to be big recruiting. It obviously motivated me to get better, though."

Simmons played center at Iowa Western. Hawkeye Offensive Line Coach Reese Morgan told Strohmeier that he wanted to look at Simmons at guard and center.

"He's just got a great upside," Strohmeier said of Simmons." He's a great student. He was a president's scholarship here."

Simmons intends on studying engineering at Iowa. If the paperwork goes through in time, he will be moving to Iowa City this weekend starting classes on Tuesday.

After the first three games of the season, Simmons picked up full-ride scholarship offers from Youngstown State and Northern Iowa, Strohmeier said.

"Reese Morgan liked him out of high school," the Iowa Western Coach said. "For whatever reason, he wasn't a guy they went after in high school. I think when they lost their tackle (Riley Reiff) to the NFL and a scholarship opened up with Dan Heiar (former of Iowa Western) leaving, that opened the door for Eric.

"He wasn't on their recruiting radar from the get-up. We were talking to them about next year with Eric."

Simmons wasn't concerned about getting to a higher level of football this year with another season at Iowa Western possible.

"They never really talked to me about a scholarship," he said. "Then I got the second call. Even though it's happening fast, it all worked out just fine."

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