Top-shelf recruits don’t make 18-hour roundtrip drives unless they have significant interest in a particular program.
Darryle Simmons and family members made that drive from the Keystone State to the Volunteer State to learn what Tennessee football is all about and take part in a junior day.
“The biggest thing…I don’t know, it was a really good visit,” Simmons told InsideTennessee. “My family loved it. Everybody was real welcoming. That was my first time here. I love the coaching staff. I haven’t known a lot of them for a long time, but I built a good relationship with them (on March 4).”
What surprised the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, native the most about Tennessee was the school’s “facilities. Probably the best facilities I ever saw.” That’s heavy praise for a well-traveled prospect that’s been to Clemson, Georgia, North Carolina and Penn State.
Tennessee wide receivers coach Kevin Beard hasn’t been on the job a full month, but his ties to Simmons go back much further.
“I love him, that’s one of my favorite coaches in the country,” said Simmons, who’s known the new Vols assistant roughly a year. “We’re real good friends. I’ve known him when he was at Georgia.”
How Beard teaches the position sets him apart from other coaches the Scout three-star wide receiver prospect said.
“One, his technique is unique to a lot of textbooks,” Simmons said. “It’s out of the box the way he thinks in terms of technique. And he’s a good person. I feel like he genuinely cares about the people that he coaches.”
The St. Joseph’s Prep School junior released a top 6 on March 5 that includes the Volunteers. Also making the list are Maryland, North Carolina, Penn State, Virginia Tech and West Virginia. He has multiple reasons for Tennessee’s inclusion.
“The tradition,” Simmons said. “I know if I came and do what I’m capable of doing here (at Tennessee), I have a chance of fulfilling my dream, going into the NFL and taking care of my family. And I love football and it’s definitely a place to play football with the fans and coaches.”
Trips he presently plans to take have him going to West Virginia (March 19) and Virginia Tech (March 25). Coming back to Rocky Top should happen in the coming months as well.
“If I don’t get anymore offers, I probably won’t visit any schools I haven’t went to yet,” he said. “But, I’ll be returning here (to Tennessee) and all the rest of my top schools.”