Coach: RU has "legitimate chance" with Pa. DT

Rutgers was in good standing with one of the top defensive lineman in western Pennsylvania in Delvon Simmons, and McKeesport (Pa.) High coach Jim Ward talked to ScarletReport.com about one of his star players. Ward discussed Simmons' attributes as a player, and also talked about Rutgers' changes of landing him, and why.

Jim Ward was a Division II all-American defensive lineman at Slippery Rock and signed a free agent contract with the San Diego Chargers, so of all the positions he feels the most confident about, it is on the defensive line.

And Ward, the first-year coach at McKeesport (Pa.) High, is highly impressed with defensive tackle Delvon Simmons, a Rutgers target who has never been to the campus but will make an official visit.

"I would not trade him for any defensive tackle in the entire country," said Ward, who used to coach at South Allegheny. "He has every physical tool you could look for in a defensive lineman. With the right coaching and the right work ethic, he could become an elite player at the college level.

"His get-off is the best I've ever seen. He has just an incredible burst off the football, he uses his hands like a third-year college guy would, he disengages very well. He just has a great feel for how to come off a block, he splits double teams. I thought he would be good, but I thought he would be more raw. Him being rated a three-star is a crime."

Simmons is 6-foot-5, 265 pounds and holds well over a dozen offers.

And while he is still settling in on the other schools he will visit, a trip to Rutgers is on his itinerary.

"I'll tell you one thing; Rutgers has a very legitimate chance at landing Delvon," Ward said. "I have a tremendous amount of respect for Robb Smith and I've known him since 2002, and spoke with coach (Greg) Schiano about a month or so ago, and had a great conversation with him and am very impressed with him.

"I know Delvon is very serious about them and he's taking an official visit there."

The only schools to visit McKeesports since Sept. 1 are Rutgers and Virginia.

The Scarlet Knights were there when McKeesport lost to Steubenville (Ohio) High 7-0 on Sept. 3 to watch Simmons and outside linebacker Branden Jackson, whom Ward said will also make an official visit to Rutgers.

After watching Simmons in summer workouts and on tape, Ward was impressed. And after seeing him play the first two games, Ward had a different take.

"I'll tell you what, he's 10 times better than I thought he was going to be," Ward said. "Once he put pads on, he elevated about 10 levels in my eyes. Obviously, I'm biased and I know that, but I'm also very critical of our guys as well in terms of evaluations."


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