Less than a week before the start of his anticipated junior football season, highly touted DeMatha defensive end Shane Simmons committed to Penn State on Wednesday. Simmons made the announcement during a live stream on ESPN.com, choosing the Nittany Lions over his other four finalists: Alabama, Florida State, Maryland and Ohio State.
— Inside DM Football (@InsideDMFB) July 30, 2014
“I had the greatest connection with the coaches,” Simmons said during the webcast. “When I got on campus it felt like home. It felt like DeMatha, a brotherhood and a great tradition, too.”
With his decision, Simmons joins a handful of other D.C. metro area players who have signed with or committed to Penn State during the last year. Former DeMatha teammate Mark Allen is now enrolled there as a freshman, as are former Wise defensive back Marcus Allen, former Fairfax All-Met running back Nick Scott and former All-Met Briar Woods quarterback Trace McSorley.
All-Met rising senior defensive lineman Adam McLean of Quince Orchard,and Bullis defensive lineman Jonathan Holland — both of whom are is good friends with Simmons — as well as Gaithersburg’s Kamonte Carter, St. John’s defensive back Ayron Monroe and Briar Woods wide receiver Brandon Polk are also committed to play under James Franklin, who continues to snatch up recruits as he enters his first season at the helm for the Nittany Lions following a stint at Vanderbilt.
Simmons has been a member of DeMatha’s varsity team since his freshman year, but the 6-foot-3, 225-pounder saw his recruitment heat up during the past season behind the Stags’ run to the WCAC title and a series of impressive performances at camps and combines, leading to more than 30 Division I offers. Ranked No. 30 overall in ESPN’s junior class rankings, Simmons possesses a quick first step off the edge as well as the speed and power necessary to track down quarterbacks in the pocket and opponents in the open field.
“I’ve been recruited since my eighth grade year and it’s been a long journey,” Simmons added. “I’ve been to every college I wanted to and Penn State had everything I wanted.”
Though the Stags graduated 30 seniors from last year’s championship team, Simmons is one of several juniors who are expected to make DeMatha contenders once again on the local and national scenes.
Offensive lineman J.P. Urquidez, a transfer from Texas, is ranked No. 163 overall and holds offers from Maryland, Virginia Tech and Texas.
At No. 220 is wide receiver Tino Ellis, who will fill the void left by graduated All-Met Cam Phillips (Virginia Tech) and has garnered offers from Maryland, Virginia and Virginia Tech.
Five slots below Ellis is offensive lineman Terrance Davis, who has offers from Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Maryland, Penn State and South Carolina, among others.
Meantime, running back Lorenzo Harrison, who rushed for 714 yards and 10 touchdowns last year and will shoulder most of the load this year following the graduation of All-Met Taiwan Deal and Mark Allen, has offers from Maryland, Hawaii and Old Dominion.
Recruit Watch: The latest offers, commitments and signings
Summer Workouts: Quince Orchard DL Adam McLean focuses on conditioning