"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."
"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."
"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.