As a freshman at Ocean Lakes High School in Virginia Beach, Va., Jahvoni Simmons started the season as a back-up at middle linebacker. An injury moved him into the starting role and he finished the last half of the season strong.
He finished the season with 73 tackles but was at his best in the final game of the year, when he made eight solo stops and three tackles for loss.
“It felt good to get in there,” Simmons said. “It was an awesome experience to start the last six games.”
The 6-foot-1, 220-pounder showed off his skills during Ocean Lakes’ spring practice session and earned an early scholarship from Old Dominion.
“We had a little pro day at our school and I guess they liked what they seen,” Simmons said. “They offered me a couple weeks later.”
Simmons also has heard from Alabama, Virginia, Florida, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Penn State, Notre Dame and several others.
Notre Dame invited him to attend the Irish’s neutral game against Maryland at FedEx Field in Washington D.C.
“I went to the game but I didn’t have a chance to talk to the coaches because it wasn’t on Notre Dame’s campus,” Simmons said. “It was really good. I liked how their defense flies around to the ball.”
Simmons attended several college camps this summer and also participated in the VTO Camp in Richmond, Va., and last weekend’s Top Gun Camp in Virginia.
He’s hoping to improve on the skills that helped him draw early attention from college coaches.
“I think they like the way I get downhill and the way I get into pass coverage,” he said. “I lead the team in picks this summer in our passing leagues and 7-on-7’s.”
Simmons helped lead Ocean Lakes to 10-3 mark in 2011. His goal for 2012 is to build on last year’s success and win a state title while also improving his own skills and landing several more scholarship offers.
“My coach has us working hard to make sure the mistakes we made last year don’t happen again,” Simmons said. “Hopefully we can win the state championship.”
In college Simmons hopes to major in sports medicine.