"Every year in high school my team would go up to their camp and participate in their passing tournaments," said Simms. "It really allowed me to get to know them, and throughout high school I built a close relationship with coach O'Brien and coach Bible.
"When my junior year came along they took an interest in me and started to recruit me for Boston College. I always liked them, but when my recruitment was winding down I just decided to go in another direction."
That direction was south to Louisville, Kentucky. Simms, the son of ex-NFL standout Phil Simms and brother of current Tampa Bay Buc quarterback Chris Simms, has connections to Louisville, the city his father hails from.
"Before my senior season I went to Louisville, met with the coaches, and I was impressed with coach Petrino's knowledge of the game," said Simms. "At that time, I felt really comfortable with that situation... with the school and the coaching staff. Coach Petrino was definitely a major factor."
Things changed for Simms following a senior season where he starred for Don Bosco Prep. Leading the team to a state title, Simms passed for nearly 2,000 yards and 20 touchdowns while completing more than 65% of his passes. His recruitment opened back up when Petrino left Louisville to accept a head coaching position with the NFL's Atlanta Falcons. It didn't take long for North Carolina State and Tom O'Brien to come calling.
and Steve Kragthorpe?
"As soon as I said that I was going to be looking at other schools and just keeping my options open, it was really the next day that I got a call from coach O'Brien and coach Bible," said Simms. "It wasn't realy new for me. It was just seeing familiar faces that were at a different place. It was a good situation."
Simms proceeded to take official visits to Michigan State and last weekend he spent the weekend in Raleigh with his brother, Chris.
"I liked the visit a lot," Simms stated. "That was actually the second time I've been to North Carolina. I visited UNC before I committed to Louisville, and I've always liked that area. I was really impressed with North Carolina State and just the school... the atmosphere and everything."
With two official visits behind him, what's up next for Simms?
"I don't have any other visits planned," he said. "Really I'm trying to make a decision here in the next few days. I'm just trying to think about each situation and where I feel the most comfortable."
Previously programs such as Arizona State and Michigan State were under consideration, but now Simms has trimmed his list to two programs. He admits that both are very good programs, and the toughest thing will be informing the coaches (of the school that he doesn't pick) of his decision.
"I've narrowed it down to North Carolina State and Louisville," he said. "I don't have to visit Louisville officially. I'm familiar with that area, and I know the atmosphere at the school.
"The tough part about this decision is you build such great relationships with the people you meet throughout the process. You meet people like coach Bible, coach O'Brien, and coach Brohm and you like them a lot. The toughest thing is telling a coach that you don't want to attend their school because you respect them so much."
Simms is rated the No. 43 quarterback prospect and a three-star player by Scout.com. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound signal-caller was selected to participate in the 2007 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
"Matt Simms ranks as of the nation's top signal callers," said Garrett Shea, Director of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. "Like his father (Phil Simms) and brother (Chris Simms), Matt has a great arm and a wonderful ability to complete passes at a high percentage. He shows good arm strength and accuracy in the pocket as well as on the rollout. In addition, he is a great leader and shows true poise on the field. Matt Simms is a tremendous athlete and the Bowl is proud to have him join the U.S. Army All-American class of 2007."
Simms was one of five quarterbacks on the East roster in the Army All-American Bowl, joining Will Korn (Clemson), John Brantley (Florida), Tyrod Taylor (Virginia Tech), and Sean Mara. Simms has the most success, completing four-of-seven throws for 30 yards.