One of the fastest rising recruits in the nation for the class of 2017 is Ann Arbor Pioneer’s Antjuan Simmons. The 6-foot-1, 199-pound prospect has seen his offer list explode over the past two weeks and he could pick up several more scholarships sooner rather than later.
College coaches often tell recruits that they want to see early season game film in order to evaluate the progress they have made over the past year. In Simmons case, that film has caused multiple coaches to extend him a scholarship. Coming into the season Simmons had mainly MAC offers. He now holds close to 20 offers including ones from Ohio State, Notre Dame, Penn State, Tennessee, Miami (Fla.) and LSU.
The Spartans have not offered a scholarship yet, but it may just be a matter of time. Most of Simmons recent offers have come by talking with coaches via phone. Mark Dantonio likes to offer players in person, especially when they are in-state and have already has built a rapport with the coaching staff. It would not be a surprise if Simmons is invited up to campus so things can be done in a more formal manner when the staff decides to make an offer.
Michigan State has been very active in the recruitment of Simmons over the past year. The staff identified him early on in the process as a player they were going to recruit hard for the class of 2017. The Spartans have had Simmons on campus on multiple occasions and he was in East Lansing earlier this month for the Oregon game. Pioneer (5-0) has a huge game on Friday against undefeated rival Saline. It would not be a surprise if a Spartans coach is in Ann Arbor to watch Simmons perform.
What makes Simmons unique is that he could project on either side of the ball at the next level. He is currently playing running back for linebacker for the Pioneers. Most of the BCS teams that are recruiting him see him as an athlete prospect and are not focused on one specific position.
Simmons compares favorably to current MSU running back Delton Williams from an athletic standpoint. The Spartans recruited Williams after he starred for Erie (Pa.) Cathedral Prep as a running back, wide receiver and linebacker. Keep in mind that current MSU linebackers Riley Bullough, Darien Harris and Chris Frey all were exceptional offensive players in high school as well. Based on my evaluation, Simmons has the type of athletic ability that MSU linebacker coach Mike Tressel likes to see in prospects.
Simmons is currently an unrated recruit by Rivals.com, but that will certainly change once his junior film is evaluated. He’ll get serious consideration for four stars as well as potentially being included in the Rivals250. That would put him in the top half dozen recruits in the state of Michigan for the class of 2017.
Matt Dorsey is a recruiting analyst for SpartanMag.com and Rivals.com.