August 25, 2008

Ole Miss looks good to Kansas JUCO

Hutchinson, Kan. C.C. safety Jasper Simmons may have been un-recruited out of Pensacola, Fla. Washington High School two years ago with no offers from major colleges, but that hasn't kept his stock from soaring headed into his sophomore season in junior college.

Simmons has gone from a 6-foot-1, 187 pound prospect to a 210 pound safety prospect who has six offers - Ole Miss, Missouri, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Memphis, and UAB.

Coming out of high school, Simmon's coach floated some of his video to junior college coaches which was spotted by Hutchinson head coach Rion Rhoades.

Simmons has seen his stock rise after recording 65 tackles from his safety position last fall at Hutchinson. He also dabbled in the offense and on special teams, where he returned one kick 91 yards and caught a 40-yard pass for a touchdown.

The Rebels offered last month with the offer coming from an Ole Miss recruiter who is very familiar with junior college football in the area. Rebel special teams coordinator and tight ends coach James Shibest was a coordinator at Independence and Garden City Community Colleges in Kansas before serving for four years as head coach at Butler Community College in the 1990s.

"He (Shibest) has told me about his success at junior colleges in the area," Simmons said on Sunday evening. "That's really impressive. He's telling me that they are losing some safeties at Ole Miss and that they need me to come in and help them out."

Playing time appears to be the key consideration when it comes to Simmons' recruitment.

"At first, location was important to me, but not any more," he said. "Now that I've been away from home for a while, I used to it, so it doesn't make any difference where I play, I just want to play."

When asked about a favorite among the six teams that have offered, he quickly mentioned Missouri, noting their recent success and particularly fielding some solid players at the safety position.

"But Ole Miss sounds good too," he said. "I really like what they are telling me about losing some safeties and having the opportunity to come in and play early.

One thing going against Simmons playing early is it appears he will not be a December graduate, which would allow him to sign early and enroll in a four-year college in January. Simmons was a non-qualifier out of high school meaning he'll have to graduate from junior college in order to be eligible. In addition, he'll also have to meet more strignent SEC requirements in English and math than most other conferences require. Generally, that's a minimum of a C average and also an additional English class.

"My counselor is telling me that she doesn't want to load me up with classes this semester with football and all," Simmons said. "I plan on taking my time and coming out in May."

Simmons said he hasn't set up any plans for official visits and is in no hurry to do so because by being a May graduate, he'll be able to take visits in January.

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