Pittsburgh Panthers Land WR

The University of Pittsburgh has developed its share of wide receivers over the years. The Walt Harris regime has produced Antonio Bryant and Larry Fitzgerald; both are currently playing on Sunday's in the NFL.

Sophomore sensation Greg Lee appears to be the next great receiver at Pittsburgh. In two years Lee will pass the torch, but to whom? Saturday the Panthers received their second verbal commitment from a wide receiver for the class of 2005.

Unless you attended the annual Walt Harris summer camp, you probably don't know his name. New Brunswick (NJ) wide receivers Shawn Simmons (6-1, 175, 4.49) along with Californian Jesse Canada were the two most impressive receivers at the camp. On Friday Pittsburgh wide receiver's coach Pete Carmichael called New Brunswick head coach John Quinn and offered Simmons a scholarship.

"On Friday morning coach Quinn told me that Carmichael called and said they were offering and I should call coach Harris," said Simmons

Later that day after practice that's just what he did.

"I called coach Harris after practice and talked to him for about 15 minutes, he said they'd really like to have me at Pitt. I told him I would think about it, and I thanked him for the offer.

It did not take the fleet footed receiver long as he called coach Carmichael on Saturday morning.

"I called Saturday, and we talked. I told him I wanted to verbally commit to Pittsburgh. He asked if I was sure and I said yes."

"I'm taking my official visit on (12/10), and I'm going to try to make it to Pittsburgh on Thanksgiving Day for the "Backyard Brawl"."

Simmons is the leading receiver for the Zebras who have destroyed every opposition they've faced in 2004. The Zebra's are a run oriented team that features RB Andre Dixon and FB Al-Teric Balaam both have several D-1 offers. Simmons has caught 16 passes, for 338 yards and 5 touchdowns. As a junior he really didn't receive much action, as he backed up star receiver Dwayne Jarrett who now catches passes for USC.

What was mom's reaction to your commitment?

"She was very happy for me."

Now you were at Pittsburgh this summer, what did you think of the "Burgh"?

"We got there a midnight I didn't get to see a lot of the town, but what I saw I liked. There are a lot of mountains, which I'm not used to. The facilities are awesome at Pitt."

Simmons verbal to Pittsburgh is kind of strange, considering the youngster wasn't even planning on going to camp there.

"They were recruiting my teammate Al-Teric Balaam, he asked me to ride down to the camp with him. I scrapped together enough money to go down. I just figured I would go along and try my best and see what would happen."

Have you heard much from Pittsburgh since camp?

"They called me once before a game to wish me luck, but they've talked to coach Quinn to monitor my progress and check on my grades. Friday was the first time I really talked to them."

"I was hoping they'd offer, but I really wasn't expecting it. I was shocked when coach told me."

Simmons is the 10^th verbal commitment for the Panthers class of 2005, and the second wide receiver. Coincidentally Simmons is the second wide receiver from the "Garden State" the home state of wide receivers coach Pete Carmichael.

Scouting Notes: Simmons is a fleet footed wide receiver, with tremendous acceleration. He get's good seperation at the line of scrimmage, he runs crisp and precise routes, he is thin but has no fear of catching the ball in traffic. Simmons is used to run blocking, and he is good at it. Simmons gets up for the ball; he has tremendous leaping ability as he is also a standout basketball player.

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