By Andrew Gorringe
The second member of the Hallandale High School trio to commit to the Utes is wide receiver Demari Simpkins. Simpkins transferred to Hallandale for his senior season, after spending the past two years at Miramar High School, where he played quarterback. Simpkins switched to wide receiver for his senior season, which is the position colleges were recruiting him for. Simpkins greatly benefited from transferring schools, as the offense allowed him to display why he was worthy of multiple scholarship offers. Simpkins committed to Utah at the same time as teammate Tyler Huntley, and he picked the Utes over runner up Wisconsin. He also held scholarship offers from South Florida, Toledo, Cincinnati, Utah State and Colorado State.
Simpkins brings speed, speed and more speed from the sunshine state to Salt Lake City, as he is one of the fastest recruits in Utah’s 2016 recruiting class. At 5’11-175 pounds, Simpkins is primed to play the slot wide receiver position at Utah, where the staff anticipates using him in a variety of ways. In his first season playing wide receiver, Simpkins finished his senior season with 506 receiving yards on 38 catches, with 7 TD’s, and also had 47 yards rushing on 15 carries. Hallandale utilized Simpkins very similarly to how Utah will, as they lined him up mostly in the slot position and allowed him to use his speed to beat linebackers and safeties.
Simpkins is one of six early enrollers for Utah in the 2016 class, and he joins Utah with a big opportunity to make noise early on in his career. With last years starting slot receiver Britain Covey leaving for a two year LDS mission, Utah must find somebody that can fill his shoes, and Simpkins will be a very viable candidate to do just that. The Utah coaching staff has shown that that they are not scared to play true freshmen, as they did just that with Covey, so Simpkins has a big opportunity sitting in front of him. Because he is somewhat new to the position, Simpkins will have to work on his route running and footwork with new wide receiver’s coach Guy Holliday, who has a pretty good track record at getting the best out of his stable of players. Simpkins has the size, speed and time to contribute early at Utah, but he will need to adjust fast to the speed of the game, and the new offensive playbook.