Simmons Believes in New Staff

Malik Simmons is happy to put an official end to his recruitment by signing with North Carolina.

"It feels good to confirm what school I'm going to be going to," Simmons said.

Simmons' recruitment ends just as it was about to get crazy. This past weekend, the 6-foot, 185-pound cornerback from Lehigh Acres (Fla.) Lehigh was scheduled to officially visit another ACC school.

"I was going to visit Georgia Tech, but I didn't end up going," Simmons said. "I canceled it to confirm myself with UNC, because they let me know that they really wanted me at their school. And Georgia Tech came at the last minute."

At the time, UNC wasn't aware that Simmons was even considering an official visit to Georgia Tech. But they eventually caught wind of the possible visit after the fact.

"They heard about it some kind of way," Simmons said. "They were glad I didn't take it."

The irony of the visit was that it was scheduled just as Simmons' interest in UNC was peaking. When Larry Fedora was first hired, Simmons was skeptical. His skepticism quickly faded and he became solid, hence the canceling of the visit to Georgia Tech.

"[The new] coaches showed me that they were interested in me more than the previous coaches," Simmons said. "They came to my school every week and communicated with me all the time. They showed they were committed to me like I was committed to their school. They made me feel good."

Mostly, Simmons spoke with Dan Disch, UNC's defensive coordinator.

"It was just his spirit and the way he is," Simmons said. "He just always talked about going all out and having fun on the field and pretty much going crazy on defense – and that's what I like to hear and that's how I like to play. And then I saw it in his face and in his eyes. They feel like they could bring the program up – and I believe them."

Disch passed on that spirit to Simmons, who helped recruit close friend and fellow UNC commitment Tyreece Jiles.

"I wouldn't say I played a major role [in Jiles sticking to UNC], but I tried to persuade him and keep it in his head to come," Simmons said. "I was just telling him the coaches really wanted him to come to UNC and I do too. I was telling him, ‘Come on, let's do this so we can be roommates.' He and I are going to bunk up."

In preparation for his UNC career, Simmons left Lehigh's basketball team.

"I was just losing weight playing basketball," Simmons said. "I didn't want to rebuild that all over again."

Simmons, who is academically qualified, does plan to run track this spring.

Malik Simmons Profile

Inside Carolina Top Stories