Last January, Michigan State offered Powder Springs (Ga.) McEachern running back Jordon Simmons a scholarship. At the time, he had some light familiarity with the Spartan program. He knew Le’Veon Bell was an alum.
Simmons already had been offered by Georgia, where his older brother Tyler plays, as well several schools in the Southeast like Florida, Florida State, Ole Miss, LSU and South Carolina. So it seemed, this would be a tough recruitment for the Spartans.
Michigan State assistant Terrence Samuel came down to McEachern’s spring game and that reiterated the Spartans’ interest. Simmons and his father Shon Simmons decided it would be good to give the Spartans a closer look. Now they are one of his top choices and he is preparing to take an official visit to East Lansing the weekend of Sept. 28.
“The No. 1 thing we tried to do in the whole recruiting process was see as much as possible,” Mr. Simmons said. “We went as far as Colorado, went up north to Michigan State, down south to Miami as well. We did the entire thing. He thought he might want to do something different than his brother, and didn’t necessarily want to follow his brother’s footsteps.”
That is where Jordon’s football journey began, though. Tyler already was playing football when Jordon turned 4, so as soon as he could run, he was out there following his older brother onto a field. His helmet was too big and he played on the line, but there he was, little Jordon Simmons with an oversized helmet making tackles at 4 years old.
When he turned 7, he began to get the ball. In seventh grade, he started track. His freshman year at McEachern, with his brother running a 10.3 100-meter dash, Jordon was not too far behind at 11.3. That is when Shon realized both of his boys had next-level speed. That was showcased again in June at Michigan State’s Spartan Elite Camp, where Jordon was clocked at 4.34 in the 40-yard dash.
Georgia was the first school to offer a scholarship to Jordon. That was during the spring of his freshman year. South Carolina offered the very next day.
When they went up to Michigan State for camp this past summer, it was not only an opportunity to compete and work with the staff, but an opportunity to become more familiar with the Spartans. It was that trip that has led to MSU being a true contender in the race.
“It was the fact that it was a family environment,” Mr. Simmons said. “When we got there, we fell in love with that. The coaches took the time to get to know him. It wasn’t a bunch of bells and whistles. It was, you’re welcome to come if you like it, but not enticing him. They showed us the program and this is what it is, we would love to have you here to play football, but we want what’s best for you and your education. They were a real coaching staff.”
Jordon does not have a firm decision date set, but it is expected to be some time in the fall. No matter where that commitment takes him, he will be playing major college football next fall, and now in a helmet that fits him.
“It’s been fun,” Mr. Simmons said. “I never in a million years thought I would have lightning in a bottle twice, but seeing both of them accomplish their dreams and play at the highest level possible, our family never thought this would happen. Jordon, not only will play college football, but can make the choice of any college pretty much.”
Simmons is ranked by the 247Sports composite as the No. 44 running back in the country.
Arizona State game to draw a crowd
There will be a sizable group of recruits visiting Michigan State on Saturday for the Spartans’ showdown with Arizona State.
Among the notables is Clarkston junior Rocco Spindler, a two-way lineman considered to be among the top recruits in the country. Spindler (6-5, 280 pounds) holds a Spartan offer.
Muskego (Wis.) junior safety Hunter Wohler also holds a Michigan State offer and will be at the game. He camped in East Lansing over the summer. Wohler (6-1, 190 pounds) is a four-star recruit also looking at Ohio State, Wisconsin and more.
Allen Trieu covers Midwest football recruiting for 247Sports. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at detroitnews.com.