The Vols bolstered their 2019 recruiting class Monday after landing a commitment from a huge defensive lineman from Nashville.
Elijah Simmons, a three-star defensive tackle from Pearl Cohen Magnet School, announced his commitment via twitter Monday. He chose the Vols over offers from Missouri and Memphis.
— Esimmons72 (@BIGE91234) July 16, 2018
Currently, Simmons is the No. 715 player, 47th-rated defensive tackle, and the 22nd-best player in the state of Tennessee per the 247Sports Composite rankings. However, in the last two months, his stock has risen as he has had a dominant camp circuit.
The 6-foot-1, 344-pound tackle earned an offer from the Vols after attending a camp on UT’s campus last month. He lined up on both sides of the ball at the prospect camp, but for the time being, the staff prefers him as a defender. And with his size, he should fit perfectly as a nose tackle in Tennessee’s 3-4 defense.
Simmons is originally from Memphis, but moved to Nashville when he was younger. He currently plays for Pearl Cohn Magnet High School.
Not only is Simmons huge and insanely strong, but he is one of the top track athletes in Tennessee in shot-put and discus, having just won state.
Pruitt and his staff may have stumbled upon a sleeping giant in Simmons, as he is a much better player than his ranking would indicate. And he absolutely dominated UT’s camp last month.
Simmons is surprisingly light on his feet given his size. He maneuvers the line of scrimmage very fluidly and he’s dominant at the point of attack. Simmons is a violent player and finishes every play through the echo of the whistle. He has a nastiness to him that coaches love to see. He does, however, need to lower his pad level substantially, as well as adjust his stance. He is still a very raw player, but with a few years of good coaching, he could become a very good football player.
“My family liked (Tennessee), and my dad created great relationships with some of their coaches,” Simmons told the Tennessean in an interview. “I liked it myself, and I just felt like that was the best fit for me.” He added, “I don’t think the old staff was looking at me as hard as the new staff. (Pruitt) makes sure I’m doing alright, stays in contact with me, and he likes me as a person, not just my rankings. The other staff, I guess they were looking for higher ranked players. This staff, they say they’re looking for heart, and that’s what I like about them.”
Simmons becomes the Vols’ 14th commit in the 2019 class. He joins LeDarius Cox, Jalil Clemons, and junior college prospect Darel Middleton as the fourth defensive line commit in the class.
The Vols now have 14 players committed in their 2019 class and have two from the state of Tennessee committed in this cycle. Offensive tackle Chris Akporoghene — who committed to the Vols last week — used to play in the state of Tennessee, but he’s since moved down to Florida and plays for IMG Academy.