Two Frontrunners for Simmons

As he begins to map out his official visit schedule, two schools have emerged as favorites for Malik Simmons.

"North Carolina and Northwestern are my two schools that I'm most interested in," Simmons said. "I also have an interest in Wake Forest.

"With Northwestern, I used to live in Chicago and all my dad's side lives in Chicago. And I've always loved Chicago. And I know that I'd make a lot of money if I graduated from there with a degree, just because of the name of the school and it's a good school.

"With North Carolina, I like the coaches. I feel comfortable with them, especially the coach that I talk to. I like him as a person and as a coach. And also, my defensive coordinator at my school, [Todd Nichols], one of the guys that works at North Carolina right now was his high school football coach. [Nichols] told me a lot about him. He also told me that I'd really like that school."

Of the schools he's considering, Simmons, a 6-foot, 185-pound cornerback from Lehigh Acres (Fla.) Lehigh, has scholarship offers from UNC and Wake Forest.

"Northwestern is telling me they're going to offer me when I get up there," Simmons said.

Simmons hasn't made recruiting visits to any of the aforementioned schools. But, at the very least, plans to schedule in-season official trips to UNC and Northwestern within the next couple of weeks.

Simmons typically calls UNC's coaches every weekend.

"I talk to all of [the UNC coaches when I call]," Simmons said. "They pretty much talk about me for a little bit – how much of an athlete I am, how much I could help their secondary. And then they tell me about the school and what the school has to offer me. They talk about getting me up there [for an official visit]."

UNC's coaches have also told Simmons about their fondness for taking high school quarterbacks and moving them to defensive back.

"They told me they like taking quarterbacks from high school because usually that's the best athlete on the team," Simmons said.

For his senior season, which officially begins this Friday against Fort Myers (Fla.), Simmons will start at both cornerback and quarterback. Last Friday, Lehigh took part in a jamboree against Cape Coral (Fla.) Island Coast and lost, 20-9.

"I did well [in the jamboree]," Simmons said. "I broke out a couple of times. I completed three or four passes, but we don't throw it a lot."

Island Coast boasts fellow UNC targets Mike Dumas and Jordan Diggs, although Diggs is currently deemed ineligible due to issues with his transfer.

"I know everybody on their team, because we do a seven-on-seven all-star team in this area," Simmons said. "So we've all played together. It was more like a rivalry game to me, because I knew them."

Simmons says earlier in the recruiting process he had discussed attending the same college with Diggs, but the two haven't spoken recently about it.

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