Ernie Sims interview

Big time running back/linebacker Ernie Sims of Tallahassee (Fla.) North Florida Christian is a phenomenally talented athlete that could be the top prospect out of the Sunshine State this upcoming year. He's recently been making some plans for this summer that Trojan fans will be interested to hear about.

Ernie Sims, 6'0, 225 lbs, is one of the most highly touted prospects for the class of 2003. Considered by many to have been the top player in Florida this past season as only a junior, part of what makes Sims so special is the fact that he's as talented a running back as he is a linebacker. He has a tremendous combination of strength, speed, and instincts that translate on both sides of the ball. From his tailback position, Sims totaled 790 yards on 82 carries (9.6 yards a carry) and 17 TD's last year in leading his team to the state title. Switching between inside and outside linebacker, he had a gaudy 164 tackles, 41 of those for loss, 12 sacks, 7 caused fumbles, and 2 safeties.

With his skills and the numbers he put up last year, its no wonder colleges have been coming by in droves this spring. About the only dilemma for colleges in recruiting Sims is deciding where to play him. He can easily play either position at the next level and he's being recruited at both, depending on the school. But does Sims himself have a preference? "Not right now. I've still got time to think about that," he said.

Admittedly wide open, Sims just recently narrowed his list of favorites down to a still large number. "Florida State, Florida, Miami, Auburn, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Southern Cal," he said in no particular order. The Blue Chip athlete has been offered by all of his favorites and he has some specific things he's looking for in the school he chooses, "The environment of the college, academics because I'd like to study to be a veterinarian…so that has to be a part of it, the coaches, the players, the playing time."

Sims comes from a Florida State Seminole family and much has been made of this. His mother was an All-American track star at FSU and his father was a fullback for the Noles. Despite this, Sims says that he is not leaning toward FSU or any other school and that his parents aren't pushing him one way or another, "I don't think they really worry about that. They want me to go wherever I feel comfortable. Wherever I can get more playing time."

The Trojans are definitely in the hunt for Sims' services and the staff is recruiting him as a running back, although the option of playing linebacker is there for Sims if he wants it, "They said if I want to play linebacker I can play linebacker, but they're recruiting me as a running back." Sims confirmed his interest in USC recently by making the decision to attend the USC football camp coming up in June. It will be his first time in Los Angeles. Among the reasons for Sims' interest in USC are a couple of Trojan coaches who have made a positive impression, "Coach Kiffin and Coach Carroll. I especially talk to Coach Kiffin a lot. I like Coach Kiffin and I like Coach Carroll too. They're great guys" he said. "Actually, they told me I could come over there and start. So, I really like to hear that. So once I heard that, I was like ‘Man, I can come over there and start.'"

Also a standout track athlete, Sims has run a 10.7 100 meters and he also runs in the 4X100 for NFC. He also runs a 4.4 forty and maxes 355 on the bench. He recently attended the Tuscaloosa, Alabama Nike camp but came away with mixed emotions despite impressing everyone in attendance, "It went OK. I didn't like the Alabama turf, that new artificial grass they have there. They said it's made to slow you down and I ran a 4.5 flat on it. I wasn't very happy with that, but other than that I think I did pretty well competing with the other guys and everything."

Sims plans on having a busy summer trying to improve his skills for next season, "My running back skills. I'm going to try and work on that a lot harder. Getting in the weight room, getting stronger. I also want to work on my agility." In addition to the Trojan camp, he also plans on attending team camps at Auburn, Florida, and Alabama, and possibly another if he has the time. Don't expect Sims to make an early commitment to any school as he plans on enjoying the whole process, "Most definitely I'm going to take all of my visits and not let that pass me by," he said.


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