Signee Spotlight: Shaun Simon

Although Shaun Simon never had a chance to play at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas, he said the experience was a valuable one. The 6-2.5, 315, center, originally from Tulsa's Union High School, was one of eight JuCo players to sign with Kansas State's class of 2011. After two years watching from the sidelines, Simon says he's eager to play some football.

"Being at Hutch helped me a lot as a person," said Shaun Simon. "I grew as an individual having to overcome an unforeseen set of circumstances. The first year I took a redshirt. Going into my second year I was pre-season All-Conference and had big expectations, but I was injured with a torn meniscus and had surgery which ended my season."

Simon will have three years of eligibilty at Kansas State, possibly a fourth with a medical clearance. Simon says he's rehabbed and is 100-percent and ready to earn playing time in the fall.

"I'm going into spring practice No. 2 on the depth chart behind B.J. Finney," said Simon. "He's a really good player. It's going to be a hard challenge, but I want to finish the spring No. 1 on the depth chart. I'm learning the playbook and think with hard work the opportunity will be there for me."

Out of high school, Simon committed to and signed with Colorado. He had offers from Big 12 schools- Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, and Missouri. Although Simon went the JuCo route, he still intended to stay with Colorado.

However, the Buffalo program went in a new direction not only by dismissing head coach Dan Hawkins but joining the Pac 10. Simon decided to look elsewhere and found Kansas State waiting with arms extended.

"I really wanted to play in the Big 12," said Simon. "I knew I didn't want to play in Oklahoma, but distance was important to me. I have family in Texas and Louisiana too, so Manhattan is a place they can all get to to see me play in every game.

"I like Coach (Charlie) Dickey a lot. I think he's a good line coach who can get the most out of my potential and take me where I need to be to be mentioned as one of the top centers in the country. Kansas State has a lot of players from the Tulsa area."

Simon joins fellow Sooner State high school players Keenan Taylor, Andre McDonald, and Tremaine Thompson on the Wildcat roster. Other Oklahoma newcomers include Tyler Lockett, Hunter Davis, Tyler Davidson, and Dante Barnett.

"I got to meet a lot of the players on my official visit in December," Simon said. "I knew some of them from back in Oklahoma. Tremaine and I started playing little league ball together."

An early enrollee in January, Simon is currently getting adjusted to college life in Manhattan and prepping himself in the weight room for spring practice.

"I'm going at it real hard all day every day," Simon said of university life, "but I like it that way, too much free time can lead to problems. My goal this season is to make all-conference. It's going to be hard work, focus, and determination, but I'm ready to make it happen."

Simon led the Union Redskins to a 6A state championship in his senior season at the school. That year (2008), he was named All-Metro (Tulsa), All-Conference, All-District, and All-State.

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