Gopher recruit Jack Simmons talks about future

Jack Simmons of Mundelien (IL) Carmel became the fourth verbal commitment for the Gophers football team, picking Minnesota over Northwestern, Illinois and Michigan State in August. Simmons is a four-year varsity starter who was named first-team all-area in 2002. He is an excellent athlete who played four different positions as a junior. I got a chance to talk to the future Gopher last week as Carmel defeated Joliet (IL) Catholic Academy 41-14 in a battle of previous 8-0 teams in a steady rain.

The rain obviously affected your offense as you did not catch a ball, but your blocking was key as Carmel gained more than 400 rushing yards


"As an offense, we take what the defense gives us. The weather gave us a hard time, throwing the ball. We completed a few big passes when we needed to. My main job was to get out and block, and luckily I was able to do that and open some big runs for us. Our main motto is "Perimeter means points" and luckily I was able to get the perimeter open for our running backs."


Is it frustrating not being more involved in the offense, due to the rain and field conditions?


"It can be frustrating. But if I let it bug me, it is going to take me out of my game. How could I not be happy winning 41-14. If I don't have a ball throw to me and we win by that score, it doesn't matter to me."


What was it about Minnesota that made you decide that is where you wanted to play?

"Minnesota was just a place that I felt comfortable. I went up there for football camp and I liked it a lot. The facilities. I went for a second visit and got to see the campus. I said to myself, that if I was not going to play football, this is the place that I would want to go to school. It was also a big factor that I grew up watching Minnesota a lot, because of my dad (His father, Terry, is a former Gopher who played for Minnesota from 1977-79 as a punter and tight end). So that was something that was exciting for me."


Illinois (where his cousin Jay Simmons plays) was one of the finalists? How strongly did you consider them and some of the other schools that recruited you?


"Illinois was close. I would say that Michigan State, Northwestern and Illinois were probably the last three. Illinois would have been a great opportunity to play alongside my cousin (Jay), who is down there. He understood and he and I talked that I had to go to the place that I felt most comfortable, and that's just the way it worked out."


Carmel; has an excellent reputation as one of the top academic schools in the country. 97% of all Carmel students go to college and 75% get a degree from a four-year school. Have you thought much about what you'd like to major in at Minnesota?


"I think that I would like to do something in business management or communications, where I could go into broadcasting or something like that."


Last year, Carmel finished 13-1, losing in the state quarterfinals. Obviously as seniors, you are hoping to get farther this year.


"Our team motto is 'Unfinished Business.' As sophomores, we lost two games. Last year, we lost one game. So, we are working down the line. We are working for 14-0 this year. That is our goal. We've been counting them down. We can start the new season. Get the playoffs rolling. We have five more games. That's the way we are looking at it."

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