When asked how relived he was to have the recruiting process over and done with, Jeffery Simmons take a deep breath and exhaled, 'Yeah, I am glad to have it all behind me."
If the pressure of making a decision got to Simmons, he never really showed it. The nation's tenth ranked player took the time after every official visit to speak with the hosting school's media and provide his impressions of the weekend. The humble superstar never backed away from the spotlight granting all comers requests for comments.
Simmons took official visits to Alabama, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Tennessee before inking with the Bulldogs this past Wednesday. While the decision to stay home was a popular one with the folks in Starkville, Simmons is glad he elected to pass on an early decision.
"I really enjoyed the recruiting process," Simmons said. "It got really stressful down towards the end, but I really enjoyed myself. I got to meet a lot of people and go to a lot of places I had never been before.
"It was a lot of fun and everybody really treated me good. I had a good experience everywhere I went."
In the end, there could only be one lucky autograph seeker and that proved to be Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen. Mullen was one of the only Bulldog staffers to know the end result heading into the big day.
"Earlier this week, I called Coach Mullen and I told him that I was going to be signing with him," Simmons explained. "He was real excited about everything. I told him I didn't want to tell Coach (David) Turner. I wanted him to be surprised when I signed."
Simmons explains that throughout the recruiting process his bond with Turner, the Bulldogs' defensive line boss, was a big factor in the Mississippi State sales pitch.
"You spend a lot of time with the strength coaches and all of that, but you have to have a good relationship with your position coach," Simmons said. "I just felt like he wanted me and that he knew what was best for me and my future.
"We have a great relationship and I have a great relationship with all of the players. All of the defensive lineman are really like a family and I wanted to be a part of that.
"He told me I might come in there and be like Chris Jones was when he was a freshman. He was able to come right in and make an impact."
Before Simmons made the call to Dan Mullen to inform him of the good news, the explosive edge rusher spent some time talking about his options with his head coach, Tyrone Shorter.
"After I got back from my visit to Ole Miss, I sat down and talked with my coach on Monday," Simmons explained. "I told him that I thought Mississippi State was the best place for me. He told me that if I thought that was the best place for me then that is where I needed to go."
Simmons' streamed announcement sent the Mississippi State fan base into euphoria, while fans of other finalists were left to consider what might have been.
"I have always liked Mississippi State." Simmons said. "Mississippi State was always one of my top schools. A lot of people were saying that I was 100% going to Ole Miss, but I never said that. I just tried to keep everybody even, while I figured out where I wanted to go.
"Mississippi State has always been one of my favorite schools. I have always felt at home there. I am happy with my decision."
Throughout the process, Simmons did his best to keep an even keel about recruiting. In the end, the talented pass rusher walked away from signing day without any negative emotions.
"I had somebody tell me that I handled my recruitment perfectly," Simmons said. "I don't know about that. I just tried to do it the best I could. I just tried to be humble and see what everybody had to say.
"That's probably the main thing I would tell people, be humble. The process can be stressful, but the best thing is to be humble and just take your time. If you take your time and never get too high or low, you can make the right decision."
Simmons is eager to move on now and get back to a normal life. This Sunday he plans to attend the Mississippi State women's basketball game as the #11 Lady Dogs host Missouri. Outside of those plans, Simmons just plans to work on himself and prepare for life on the college level.
"With all of this over with, I can just focus now," Simmons explained. "I don't have all of those phone calls and visits and all of that to deal with anymore. I can just focus on my grades and just getting ready for next season. I am excited to get up there and get started."
With Simmons' signing, Dan Mullen and his staff have secured the services of the state's top prospect four of the last five years. Coupled with Jamal Peters' inking a season ago, the Bulldogs have reeled in the Magnolia State's biggest fish in back to back years.