Simmons excited about future as a Gamecock

Banneker (College Park, GA) hard-hitting safety Darrell Simmons is one of the gems of South Carolina's 2008 recruiting class, and the highly touted Peach State prospect is set to sign his letter of intent with South Carolina on Wednesday morning. talked with Simmons on Tuesday night, and he said he's looking forward to signing his letter of intent on Wednesday and cementing his plans to be a Gamecock next season.

"I'm signing at 8 a.m. I'm excited about becoming a Gamecock," said Simmons. "I really like what South Carolina offers, and I just think it's the best school for me. Coach (Ron) Cooper keeps in touch with me all the time, and I'm looking forward to playing for him."

The Gamecocks have developed a strong pipeline to Banneker High School in recent years, and Simmons is comfortable knowing that he'll be joining his friends and former teammates Carlos Thomas and Ladi Ajiboye at USC.

"I talk with Carlos a lot, and we actually worked out together over Christmas break. I talk with Ladi some too. I'm looking forward to playing with them next season."

According to Simmons, Thomas has given him an idea of what to expect once he arrives on campus.

"He's just told me what it's like at South Carolina. He said you've got to work hard and it's an adjustment. I'm just working out and running to get ready."

Simmons, who re-took the ACT in late January and said he is "on track to qualify," was asked to give Gamecock fans a taste of what they can expect from him on the gridiron over the next four years.

"I'm strong and very athletic. I have great instincts and am a natural athlete. I'm a very good tackler and someone that can defend the pass."

The nation's no. 39 ranked safety prospect closed by passing on an enthusiastic message for the Gamecock Nation.

"I just want everybody to know that I'm the next piece to the puzzle for a national championship."

Simmons, who said he models his game after the late Sean Taylor, racked up 97 tackles,1 interception, 2 fumble recoveries for touchdown and 6 sacks in his senior season. He plans to enroll at USC in early July for the second session of summer school.

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