Visit Sets Standard for Simmons

Malik Simmons took his first official visit over the weekend to North Carolina, the school that he labeled his leader a few weeks ago.

"I loved it," Simmons said. "It offers everything I want like academics and athletics. I just loved it [and] my mom did too."

Simmons, a 6-foot, 185-pound cornerback from Lehigh Acres (Fla) Lehigh, loved it so much that he admits that the thought of committing crossed his mind.

"I still want to go on my other visits first and check out other schools," Simmons said. "But North Carolina set the standard, so if the other schools don't meet it, I'm going to go to North Carolina."

Simmons isn't exactly sure what other schools he'll officially visit, though Northwestern, Vanderbilt, and Wake Forest are strong candidates.

"I'm still working on that," Simmons said. "All the schools I have offers from, I'm considering [officially visiting] and then a couple that are saying they're going to offer me.

"But I feel like North Carolina got me."

The weekend's official trip was Simmons' first visit to UNC.

"I learned that there's a lot of love at that school – the whole school, the whole staff and community," Simmons said. "Everybody works together to make sure the student athletes are successful."

Accompanied by his mother, Simmons arrived on campus at 10 a.m. on Friday. Most of the afternoon was spent touring the campus.

"I liked [the campus] a lot," Simmons said. "The scenery was nice – everything was nice and clean cut."

After eating dinner with the football team, Simmons met with basketball coach Roy Williams.

"That was something I'll remember," Simmons said. "He basically gave us a little background and let me know that the school was a one-of-a-kind school to get a degree from. He said I must be pretty special that they have him talking to me, because he said he never does that."

Simmons then attended part of "Late Night with Roy," before going out with Jonathan Smith.

"I liked him – he's real cool," Simmons said. "He took me to his apartment and then we went to some of his friends' houses and then we went out."

On Saturday, Simmons attended UNC's 30-24 loss to Miami.

"I liked the atmosphere," Simmons said. "They have a good support system with the school. The game's [outcome] didn't discourage me, because they just had little mistakes and you could see that they're all fixable. So that didn't worry me at all."

Following the game, Simmons and his mother had dinner and then had a long discussion with Everett Withers.

"He told us to ask him whatever we wanted to get off our chest – my mom and I," Simmons said. "So we asked him all that we had in mind and he just answered all our questions. He told me how they really feel about me and what they have to offer."

Most of Simmons' questions directed towards Withers revolved around the uncertainty that surrounds UNC.

"I asked him if he was still going to be there and what the punishments they're going to get for the [NCAA] violations," Simmons said. "He stayed cool – it didn't seem to bother him at all. He said since he's having success at being the head coach, he thinks he's going to stay. And that they're going to have minor punishments with losing three recruits each year for three years and a fine. That isn't anything – they would love to have all 25, but that isn't something he couldn't overcome."

Simmons's Saturday night was then capped off by spending time with his player host, sophomore safety Tre Boston, who Simmons knew from Boston's prep days in southeast Florida.

"It was just like hanging out with one of my homeboys," Simmons said. "We clicked – we were laughing and having a good time."

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