Sometimes you watch a prospects tape and a few plays in, you feel like you’ve seen enough.
That can be a good or bad thing, but with Antjuan Simmons it’s a very good thing. It’s easy to see why so many programs have already offered him and why he is being pursued by college football coaches from around the country. He has wow physical traits that show out in his play on the field and it’s going to be exciting to watch his development during his senior year and beyond.
Simmons in an exceptional athlete with great acceleration. He displays fluidity when opening up, but it’s his explosiveness that stands out. I don’t think his top end speed is as impressive as his short area quickness is, but it’s that movement in short areas that jumps out on film.
I’m a little concerned with his height and if he is a legit 6’1″. I’ll get to see him during the camp circuit this summer and get a better look at him then. He is strongly built and looks like he can add weight to his frame to play as an outside linebacker.
One word to describe Simmons as a tackler: vicious. He absolutely explodes through ball carriers when he makes contact. He often pops the ball looses on contact because of how violent he hits runners on offense. He is very strong in the open field and closes on the football in a hurry. He takes aggressive angles because he can with his athleticism.
He flashes the speed to be a sideline to sideline player and chase plays down from the backside. His recognition skills appear to be solid, but I did not get to see him have to fight through blocks. I worry about that a bit with him and that may mean he isn’t a fit to play inside as a Will. I do like what I see from him when lined up outside of the box, especially the way he comes off the edge as a blitzer.
He appears to have the physical skills to excel in coverage. I didn’t get to see enough of him to get a good evaluation of his awareness and instincts other than him doing a good job diagnosing screens.
He is a very talented running back as well who displays great balance after contact and could probably play running back at the next level as well. I do think his upside is much greater at linebacker, though.
I see him as a space/Sam/nickel linebacker at the next level and he has the physical tools to be a great one.
What Darron Lee was for Ohio State this past season, that’s what I think Simmons could end up being. I think he is more physical and has a nastier mentality than Lee, though, which can make him an even better all-around player. I haven’t studied many prospects in 2017 as of yet, but watching Simmons has me excited about his class at linebacker because I think he has the chance to develop into a stud at the next level.
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Jamie Uyeyama was a way too small defensive tackle at Idaho State University and a more appropriately sized rush end at Simon Fraser University. He was a coach at the college and high school level and is the son of Ron Uyeyama, a member of the Delta Sports Hall of Fame and high school football coach for over 30 years (hence the site name, Son of a Coach)