Simmons Pipeline continues to USC

With the news yesterday that his youngest son Marquis had given a verbal to USC, Melvin Simmons took the time to talk about his third son playing for the Trojans and how much that means to his family.

When Melvin Simmons met his future wife, Kathleen, one of the first things they knew was that each one of them wanted to have a lot of kids. Both came from big families and they wanted their kids to be able to rely on each other. Little did they know that not only would they end up with eleven children total but that three of them would one day wear the Cardinal and Gold of the USC Trojans.

"When we heard that Marquis would be going to USC, well, it made me feel real good," said Melvin. "He is our youngest child, the 11th, and he will be the 11th to go to college. Me and my wife, we can't ask for anything more than that. We think education is real important and you don't get any better than a school like USC."

Marquis (6-1, 210) is finishing up his sophomore year at Dominguez HS and can't be officially offered a scholarship until September but USC head coach Pete Carroll and linebackers coach Ken Norton (photo with Melvin Simmons) gave him a verbal offer this week and Marquis accepted right away. The news that Marquis will be a Trojan follows the USC verbal earlier this spring of Maurice, the 10th child in the Simmons family, and both brothers will follow in the footsteps of Melvin III who was a defensive captain on the 2003 USC team that defeated Michigan in the Rose Bowl to capture the AP National Title.

"I always knew Marquis liked SC but to hear him say that's where he wanted to go, it brought tears to my eyes," said his father. He laughed and added "It's a big weight for the last one to go, it means we don't have to worry anymore."

The Simmons family has produced an impressive athletic resume in recent years. In addition to Marquis, Maurice and Melvin there was also Marvin who signed with USC out of high school only to eventually end up at Kansas State and is now with Calgary of the CFL. There was also Marlin who signed with Cal and sister Kameca who played basketball at UNLV. So where does Marquis rank as a player in relation to his brothers?

"Marquis plays hard," says his father. "Some of the others were fast, some were strong, and he's taken a little bit from each of them. I believe he will be the best of the group, I really do. He has a quiet confidence to him, he keeps to himself but he is more of a leader than the others were. He watched them all, particularly Champ (Melvin III), and now he is the one who is giving the younger kids on the team advice and helping to steer them in the right direction. Marquis talks about majoring in business but I think he's got a lot of coach in him, he thinks of himself as a coach in a lot of ways, and I think that's what he'll end up doing."

When you talk to anyone in the Simmons family, it's clear that the oldest son Champ is held in high regard. His younger siblings tell stories of watching Champ (photo, right, with dad and Marquis) studying at the dinner table when he was a student at USC and how they all want to emulate what he has accomplished. Champ works these days as an engineer in the area and also helps out with the Dominguez football team.

"Champ has always been the All-American kid to us," said his father. "He just worked hard and set an example for the other kids. He was always there to show love and support for his younger brothers and it paid off."

Champ wasn't the only one setting the right example. Kathleen Simmons dropped out of El Camino College when she and Melvin began having a family but she returned to school a few years ago to get her degree from CS Dominguez Hills and is now a teacher at Lynwood HS."

"I'm real proud of my wife for getting her degree like that," said her husband. "What does it say to the younger kids when a mother raises her kids and then goes out and finishes her education. That sets a great example."

For future Trojans Marquis and Maurice, along with USC graduate Melvin and the other eight Simmons children, it is an example which they have learned well and USC will benefit for years to come both on and off the field.


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