Josh D. Weiss-USA TODAY Sports
There are two things Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Ted Roof likes in his defensive linemen. Size, and more size. Let’s just start out by saying that defensive end Antonio Simmons is big, not just in size, but in the talent he brings to the field as well.
At 6-foot-4 and 210 lbs, Simmons hails from Jacksonville, Fla. where he holds a spot on the varsity football and basketball teams of University Christian High School. Beyond his stellar play on the gridiron, Simmons has some pretty good basketball numbers, averaging 11.2 points per game. Could we be looking at yet another two-sport Yellow Jacket?
But we’re here to talk about his football skills. Simmons took a lot of people by surprise with some impressive sack numbers during the 2014 season, and along with several other 2014 recruits coming to the Flats, he’ll be in line to eventually make life uncomfortable for opposing quarterbacks.
Simmons posted 50 tackles this season (33 solo) and 19 tackles for loss. Those are some numbers that will make most college coaches give a closer look.
Then you look at the stat line and see 29 sacks. Twenty. Nine. You read that right. In one season, Simmons sacked the quarterback 29 times for a total of 150 yards lost by the opponent. Throw in 26 quarterback hurries beyond those sacks, and a blocked punt, and you’ve got a diamond in the rough that could turn out to be something special.
Oh, let’s not forget he has a total of 108 receiving yards with just six catches on a 9.0 receiving yards per game average. Just for good measure.
Yeah, Simmons is going to be watched carefully. If he’s coached properly and has the right attitude and work ethic, then he can become a huge part of the Georgia Tech defense. He’s got good height for an end, but will definitely need to add some bulk to his frame. It’s possible he might be looked at as an outside linebacker, where he can use his speed to both rush the passer and in pass coverage.
Whether at end or linebacker, Simmons has a lot of raw talent and energy. If it’s harnessed correctly, the Yellow Jackets could have themselves a heck of a defender.
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