The last time a La Plata football player went from Charles County to a Football Championship or Football Bowl Subdivision school it was in 2006, when the Warriors went winless and offensive lineman Eric Jobe signed to play at West Virginia.
Eight years later the Warriors are coming off a 2-8 season and will send Jvon Simmons, a 6-foot-4, 225 pounds wide receiver, to Durham to play for North Carolina Central this fall. Simmons, a three-year varsity starter, was often asked by by people in the area why he didn’t transfer to a school where he might get more looks.
“People were always telling me, ‘why are you going to La Plata?'” Simmons said. “But my parents stood behind me and stuck it in my head that the team you go on doesn’t make you, it’s how hard you perform.”
He considered St. Mary’s Ryken, DeMatha, or even another neighboring public school but didn’t want to sit out a year after transferring. So Simmons attended camps on his own and played with Westlake and North Point players at 7-on-7 tournaments, eventually garnering offers from Toledo and Appalachian State and interest from Vanderbilt and Maryland, among others.
He finished 2012 with 27 catches for 437 yards and five touchdowns in an H-back role. An ankle injury took him out of four games in 2013, but he managed 335 yards on 22 receptions with one touchdown.
“When I started varsity as a sophomore, they used me a lot and I just integrated with the team,” Simmons said. “I looked at it like, why would you leave a school that’s using you and giving you the ball all the time to go somewhere you won’t get used all the time?”
Simmons considered going to junior college to pull up his grades and pursue a scholarship at a larger school but didn’t want to risk another injury keeping him back.
N.C. Central offered a full ride and he “felt like he was home” after a visit. His older sister attended North Carolina A&T, so the state and area was familiar, and the coaches made it clear they expected him to contribute immediately.
Getting picked up by the Eagles is just another step forward for La Plata football, Simmons said, which has finished .500 just one time in the last eight years.
“I definitely think a lot of people have been sleeping on Maryland kids,” he said. “I believe we are on the come-up, now that a lot of people are getting looked at.”
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