NORTH BETHESDA, Md. -- On Nov. 1, Landon (Bethesda, Md.) trekked to Georgetown Prep (North Bethesda, Md.) for a 1 p.m. showdown, which the Little Hoyas ended up winning, 32-19. Terrapin Times was on hand to scout and interview Landon's junior defensive end/outside linebacker Keith Simms, a 6-foot-3, 225-pounder with a double-digit offer list. Simms had five tackles and a quarterback pressure, in addition to one reception for a 1-yard touchdown at tight end, in the effort. Check out our evaluation, followed by a one-on-one video, below:
Simms (6-3, 225) plays a stand-up, weakside end position for Landon, but his long, sinewy frame and pure athleticism suggest he’ll be an outside linebacker at the next level. Which suits Simms just fine, because one of this prospect’s best qualities is his ability to make plays in space. The Landon edge rusher has nimble feet and a rapid-fire first step, allowing him to get a jump on the ball. On top of that, he has very good lateral agility, solid athleticism and above-average closing speed.
It follows that Simms is an active edge setter who corrals backs who hit the edge and/or funnels them back inside to his teammates. He maintains his gaps, breaks down well in space and wraps up well, allowing little leaky yardage. Simms also does a good job using his long arms and aggressive hands to disengage. When he’s closing in on a running back, he’ll run right through a blocker in order to reach his man.
But Simms does some of his best work as a pass rusher, where his initial get-off and deft feet allow him to cut straight to the quarterback. Simms shows the ability to come off the ball hard, deliver a fairly potent punch, scrape off the block and then slice inside. He’s also quick enough to deke outside before coming around backside if the offensive linemen cut off the interior gaps. Simms takes tight, precise closing angles, and that allows him to close on his man even faster. Moreover, when Simms can't reach the quarterback, he has the awareness and athleticism to leap up and extend his long arms to impede passing lanes.
Finally, Simms is a willing tackler in the holes, using his long arms to corral the backs. He finishes plays and rarely lets runners out of his grasp.
Simms, though, does have several areas to shore up. As a pass rusher, he has to learn how to vary his moves, because right now he’s getting by on pure talent. Simms could stand to improve hand placement (sometimes he’ll strike too high or outside the pads) and his point-of-attack power as well.
While Simms does have a solid initial strike, it could be even more potent if he continues building his upper-body strength and consistently drives from his base. Sometimes he’ll come off the ball too high, and that can sap his power. You’ll also notice, every once in awhile, offensive linemen will gain leverage on him and get into his body. Typically Simms maintains his ground, but he can get pushed off the ball from time to time.
Also, Simms has to develop more consistency with his tackling form. At times he’ll use his upper body to bring down runners in the open field, instead of dropping his hips, driving forward and following through. He can get away with that now, but at the next level it’s a recipe for missed tackles.
And if Simms is going to play outside linebacker at the next level, he’ll have to improve his drops in order to cover. Right now, he has a bit of hip stiffness when turning and running, which could make his susceptible when trying to pick up tight ends/receivers who range into his area. Simms will have to continue working on his field awareness and reads as well, since right now he’s only really asked to get the quarterback and set the edge on pitch plays/outside runs.
We’d also like to see Simms improve his conditioning, because as the game moved along he seemed to tire and lose some of his effectiveness. And Simms needs to pack on about 10 to 15 pounds of muscle as his frame is still rather lithe. He’ll need the extra bulk and strength in order to disengage and take on bigger backs/linemen at the FBS level.
Simms High On Hometown; And Scouting Report
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