Fla. ATH Adds UNC Offer

Thursday was fruitful for Malik Simmons. By the end of the day, the 6-foot, 185-pound athlete from Lehigh Acres (Fla.) Lehigh had nearly doubled his scholarship offer count.

"North Carolina offered me [on Thursday] and then Maryland and Wake Forest did too," Simmons said. "I found out about the North Carolina and Wake Forest offers before I left school, and then my coach called me when I got home and told me about Maryland."

Simmons' scholarship offer list, which also includes Iowa State and South Florida, is now up to eight schools.

A couple of weeks ago, a UNC coach made an evaluation visit to Lehigh High School. Another member of the staff dropped by on Thursday.

"At the beginning of practice I saw [a UNC coach] come over to watch," Simmons said. "We had a walk through today, so I didn't have on all my pads. But my coaches had me run a couple of drills anyway."

Later that day, Simmons spoke to a UNC assistant coach.

"He said, ‘If I offer you, would we be in your top five?'" Simmons said. "I said, ‘Yea.' And he said, ‘Well, I'm going to offer you a scholarship right now.'"

Simmons, who's unsure when he'll make a verbal commitment, doesn't have a favorite schools list – he just knows UNC is among the schools he has a favorable opinion of.

"I like [UNC's] history, its location around all those other colleges, and my DB coach, his high school coach is coaching for them right now," Simmons said. "My coach was telling me how he knows that North Carolina is a good program."

Earlier in his recruiting process, however, Simmons listed South Florida as his leader.

"At that time I only had two offers," Simmons said. "It was just USF and Western Kentucky."

Thus far, Simmons has made only two recruiting visits – to Miami and South Florida.

"We plan on going to some visits over the summer, but we're not sure which schools yet," Simmons said.

Simmons began his prep career at safety. He first won a spot in Lehigh's starting lineup at safety during his sophomore season and recorded two interceptions, four forced fumbles, and 87 tackles.

During the offseason before his junior year, Simmons was moved to quarterback, where he accounted for 20 all-purpose touchdowns.

"My coach, he told me he wants to have his best athlete at quarterback, so that's why he moved me there," Simmons said. "And he knows I can throw and make smart decisions with the ball."

Most college coaching staffs are recruiting Simmons as a cornerback, although he is receiving some looks for safety. He said he doesn't have a position preference.

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