One of the top recruits in Michigan and the Midwest for the class of 2017 is Ann Arbor Pioneer running back Antjuan Simmons. Michigan State extended the 6-foot-1, 199-pound prospect a scholarship earlier this week.
The class of 2017 in Michigan is shaping up to be one of the best in recent memory and Simmons is a big reason why. Over the past few weeks he has seen his offer list more than double with several powerhouse programs like MSU, Ohio State, Notre Dame and LSU. The Spartans attended Simmons’ game this past Friday night against Saline and Mark Dantonio made the decision to extend a scholarship this week.
“I had to call (MSU wide receivers) coach (Terry) Samuel, he is my primary contact and we talk on a weekly basis,” Simmons said. “He said it was that time for me to talk to Coach D. (Coach Dantonio) told me they’re offering me and they are really excited about taking the next step in the process and getting to know me even more.”
Simmons has been building rapport with the MSU staff over the past year. He has been on campus on multiple occasions, the most recent visit being for the game against Oregon.
“It was a blessing,” Simmons said. “It’s been a long process but of course it’s not over we still have to get to know each other even more. My thoughts on the Spartans are very high! The program has really grown on me over the past year and it’s just been great getting to know them.”
One of the things that makes Simmons such a sought after prospect is his versatility. Simmons starts at both running back and linebacker for Pioneer and most colleges are recruiting him as an athlete that could play on either side of the ball. Dantonio and his staff have had a lot of success of late with players who have similar size skill set to Simmons. Current Spartan standouts like LJ Scott and Riley Bullough both excelled on offense and defense in high school like Simmons.
Though he now holds over 20 scholarship offers, Simmons indicated that his primary focus is helping Pioneer (5-1) have a successful season.
“It’s a blessing, but I can’t think too much on it right now,” he said. “I’m in season and the only thing I’m worried about is getting Pioneer to the playoffs and a championship.”
At this point, Simmons is listed as an unranked recruit by Rivals.com for the class of 2017. That will definitely change when the rankings are updated later this fall. Once his film is evaluated, he’ll shoot up the rankings and be a serious contender for the Rivals top 250 and four-stars. Simmons is one of the top five or six prospects in Michigan and could challenge for the state’s top prospect if he continues to progress at the same clip he has over the past year.
Matt Dorsey is a recruiting analyst for SpartanMag.com and Rivals.com.