2011 Intro: Jalen Simmons

CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- West Charlotte's stable of running backs rushed for roughly 3,000 yards last season. Jalen "Scoot" Simmons was the main threat of that group.

"When we go to a one-back power-I and we hand the ball off, we know who's getting the ball – it's going to be him," West Charlotte head football coach Jeff Simpson said. "We try to put a little deception in there so that you just can't key on him. Our quarterback could hurt you and the other running backs could hurt you, but [Simmons] was the one that other teams wanted to stop."

Simmons, a 5-foot-8, 189-pounder, rushed for 1,005 yards and eight touchdowns on 121 carries (8.3-yard average) last fall, while sharing the backfield with fellow running backs Nakindra Davis and Jamal Tillman, and quarterback Ahmad Brown. As a sophomore, Simmons accumulated 1,315 yards and 19 touchdowns on the ground.

"[Simmons] has a lot of tools," Simpson said. "He's not real big but he runs with great pad level, he's got his shoulder so that he can run physically. But he's got some really nice open field moves. He's not the fastest running back in the world, but he certainly has enough speed to take it the distance at any given time – he's got game speed for sure."

Simmons impacts the game in ways that can't be measured statistically, such as when he's a decoy.

"Against Mooresville, [Tillman] ran for 160-something yards just faking it to Scoot and handing it back on the counter underneath," Simpson said. "Ten people would go to tackle Scoot and [Tillman] was off to the races."

For his senior season, Simmons' usage will be expanded to be a bigger part of West Charlotte's passing attack.

"We need to develop our passing game a little bit more and Scoot is going to be a part of that," Simpson said. "We're going to split him out in the slot. If people are going to load the box and give us one-on-one coverage, I'm going to put him out there and see if someone can cover him, because he's just as good in the slot as he is at running back."

Duke has offered Simmons a scholarship, while Clemson, East Carolina, North Carolina, and NC State are showing strong interest.

"Everybody really likes him," Simpson said. "They know he's a really good running back… A lot of people love his personality. The one thing that they've questioned from last year's tape is does he have enough top end speed. Then again he was hurt – he battled that hamstring injury and a thigh bruise – for a lot of the year.

"One thing we're really going to really focus on this spring is making sure he's running track and doing some speed work and getting faster, so that when he goes to these camps this summer there's not going to be any doubt."

Simmons ran the 66-meter dash in indoor track and will run the 100-meter dash for spring track.

This summer, Simmons is considering camping at Duke, East Carolina, UNC, and NC State. He camped at UNC last July.

Before his senior football season, Simmons would like to make a verbal commitment.

"Clemson has been my favorite, but Duke is up there now since they've offered," Simmons said. "I like Clemson's campus and when I went up there for a game, I liked the way their fan base was."

Outside of Clemson, Simmons has attended a game at UNC, when the Tar Heels hosted The Citadel. He plans to make return visits to Clemson and UNC this spring, in addition to trips to Duke and East Carolina.

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