Shane Comes Back to Penn State

Longtime verbal had a job to do at the Nittany Lions’ Junior Day Saturday.

Judging by the photos that have been posted to social media, most prospects on hand had a good time at Penn State's “Super Saturday” Junior Day on campus this weekend.

While Maryland defensive end Shane Simmons was among the recruits who shared fun photos, he was also taking care of business while in Happy Valley. The four-star prospect from DeMatha Catholic committed to the Nittany Lions in July.

“My job is to build relationships with other players,” Simmons said. “… I'm trying to get to know them and just tell them I would like them to play with me and the other 2016 commits.

“The point of me going up there was to bring them to Penn State so we can compete for championships,” he added.

Simmons said he and the two other PSU commits on hand Saturday (DB LaVert Hill and RB Miles Sanders) took a divide-and-conquer approach.

“The visit went well,” Simmons said. “There were a lot of recruits that me, Miles and LaVert were talking to, people on our (respective) sides of the ball. Miles was talking to Michal Menet, the offensive lineman from Pennsylvania.

“I talked to Christian Colon, the defensive tackle from North Carolina,” he added. “He got an offer yesterday, and said he really likes it and all that. I'm gonna stay in touch with him.”

Simmons did venture to the other side of the ball, though, when he talked to Marcus Simms. It was with good reason. The receiver began his high school career at DeMatha before transferring to Sherwood High.

“He started to get some offers last month and he just continues to get more and more offers,” Simmons said. “Hopefully, he will consider Penn State, because he has a lot of talent.”

Even though he committed so early, Simmons does not view himself as THE leader of the class, but rather A leader, along with Hill, Miles and QB commit Jake Zembiec (who was at a Junior Day in January).

“I don't think I'm the main one,” Simmons said. “I think all of us are leaders. For me, anyone who commits in our Class of 2016, they'll all play a role in recruiting other people. So they are leaders, too. I'm a leader, Jake is one, too. So are Miles and LaVert. We all are.”


Simmons and "Coach Chaos."

BALANCING ACT

Simmons said the visit reminded him of how loose the Penn State staff can be in more social situations. Especially his future positions coach, Sean Spencer, aka “Coach Chaos.”

“He's crazy,” Simmons said. “He's fun, too. One of the main reasons I picked Penn State is because they have young coaches. So they relate to you more. A lot of other places, it seemed like they were strict and they had no fun at all. But Penn State, they relate to you, and they know how to have fun conversations with you, too.

“But when it's time to play football, it's time to start acting like business people,” he added.

He also said that as much fun as was had on Saturday, a good portion of the day was spent talking about the educational aspects of the program.


A LONG STORY

Heading into his senior season, Simmons believes he has leveled off right around 6-foot-4. He weighed in at 225 pounds on the Junior Day visit, and clearly has room to fill out.

But some of his other measurable are eye-popping. He said he has a wingspan of 84 inches, which translates to 7-0. His arm length is 34-plus inches. And his hand is 10.5 inches.

“They say I have the biggest hands on the current team,” Simmons said.

When it comes to football, he has areas of focus for the off-season.

“I'm quick off the ball, but I need to work on my speed,” he said. “I need to work on my hand technique, too, like getting past the defenders. But I'm good at tracking down the ball and wrecking plays and all that.”


BLAST FROM THE PAST

When talking about improving his own game, Simmons dropped this line.

“My mentor is LaVar, and he tells me about my handwork and all that. That's been improving.”

Former Penn State All-American and NFL All-Pro LaVar Arrington began working with Simmons in a youth league years ago.

“I was one of the kids he trained,” Simmons said. “Ever since, we've had a close relationship.”

Want to feel old? Realize that Simmons never saw Arrington play. Not at PSU. Not in the NFL.

“I've seen video, though,” Simmons said.


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