Simon Says: "Ohio State Visit Was Great"

Youngstown Cardinal Mooney junior standout John Simon visited Ohio State last Saturday and attended the Buckeye practice. Simon, one of the top defensive linemen in America, has scholarship offers from many of the top programs in the country. Bill Greene has more on the Simon visit.

Youngstown Cardinal Mooney's Johnny Simon was a visitor at Ohio State's practice on Saturday. The top rated junior in Ohio is now turning his attention to recruiting following the completion of his season. Mooney lost to Coldwater in the championship game.

"I'm really getting into the recruiting process now that the season is over," Simon stated. "I've been e-mailing a few coaches and I'm starting to look closely at the different schools. There were a few college coaches in the school this week. I've got eight scholarship offers so far, with Illinois being the latest to offer this past week."

Simon has offers from Akron, Boston College, Illinois, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and Stanford. He spoke about his visit to Columbus this past Saturday.

"It was great to talk with the coaches," he said. "I got a tour of the entire facility and it's a beautiful place to see. I could definitely see myself playing there. I love the style of defense that Coach [Jim] Heacock runs. He and I talked about their schemes. I'm very comfortable with their scheme and it's obviously working well for them. The practice was real intense and you can see the players are really excited about playing for the national championship. I was really into it and the whole Ohio State visit was great. They're recruiting me to play anywhere on the defensive line. It doesn't matter to me. Coach [Jim] Tressel is a great guy and we get along well. I didn't want to interrupt him before practice, but he came over to me and told me he was glad I made it down for the day. I was grateful to be there and be able to see everything. I have a good relationship with him after being here at camp last summer."

Simon also talked about some of the other schools he is considering. He said he has no list of favorites and is willing to consider every school at this time.

"Illinois is a good school and Coach [Eric] Wolford is a great recruiter," Simon explained. "I'd like to be able to visit there at some time. Coach [Ron] Zook seems like a great guy and I was real excited to get an offer from them. Notre Dame is a school I like because of their tradition. Their campus is beautiful and I like the coaches. Coach [Charlie] Weis will get them turned around and their record this year won't have any effect on me at all. Danny McCarthy isn't really pushing me to go there. He knows I've got to do what's best for me. The same with Brandon Beachum and Mike Zordich at Penn State. They aren't pushing me at all. I like Penn State a lot. I was there for the Wisconsin game and I really like the program a lot. The stadium was packed and the coaching staff is great at Penn State."

Simon said a decision could come as soon as next spring. He discussed what he's looking for in a university.

"It will all come down to where I'm most comfortable," Simon exclaimed. "Other factors, like teammates being at certain schools, or the fact that my sister is at Ohio State, won't matter in the end. I'm still wide open to hearing from other schools too. I'm interested in hearing from anyone that's interested in me. I plan on taking recruiting very seriously over the next few months and making my decision. I think I could be making a decision by late February, before everybody starts spring football. I'm listening to what each school has to offer academically and athletically. I want to be a strength coach some day, so I will probably be majoring in some form of sports therapy. Getting a great education is something my family has been preaching for a long time and that means a lot to me."

Simon also discussed the loss to Coldwater in the championship game. Mooney was a heavy favorite to win the game and the loss served as a life lesson for Simon.

"Seeing the faces of our seniors was a horrible thing to go through," Simon explained. "I felt terrible for those guys, but it will be something I use for motivation for next year. If we don't want to go through that again, we know we need to work even harder and we plan on doing that. I consider myself a team guy, so I plan on doing everything in my power to not have to go through that again. I hated losing, but I feel all the credit goes to Coldwater. They made the plays they needed to make and they won the game fair and square. We need to take that loss as men and learn from it."

If there is a more impressive physical specimen than John Simon playing high school football, I've yet to see him. The nice thing about Simon is that he's a great student and a very mature young man. Whichever school is fortunate to land him will be getting a quality person, as well as a great football player.

Buckeye Sports Top Stories