Tennessee will struggle to have a player drafted during the 2019 NFL Draft this weekend, but it was a Tennessee signee who drew a lot of praise on Thursday night.
This year’s draft is taking place in Nashville, and the Tennessee Titans honored several local high schools by having their captains on stage wearing jerseys from their respective schools as commissioner Roger Goodell announced the Titans’ first pick. Among those players was Tennessee 2019 signee Elijah Simmons, a three-star defensive lineman out of Pearl Cohn. The 6-foot, 350-pound defensive tackle was easily the biggest player on stage, and he was almost directly behind Goodell.
— David Ubben (@davidubben) April 26, 2019
Several people took notice of the massive Vol signee, including current NFL star defensive end J.J. Watt.
Watt, a former first-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, is a three-time Defensive Player of the Year for the Houston Texans and has amassed a whopping 92 sacks in 99 career games. He was watching the draft and saw Simmons standing behind Goodell, and he wanted his Texans to go ahead and draft the future/current Vol.
Can we draft #72 from the Tennessee metro high school team? Kid looks like a beast.
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) April 26, 2019
Simmons isn’t even officially on the Vols’ roster yet. He wasn’t one of Tennessee’s 10 early enrollees, meaning he’s still attending Pearl Cohn High School right now. Simmons is expected to join the Vols this summer along with the rest of Tennessee’s 2019 signing class.
Tennessee’s official Twitter account responded to Watt’s praise, giving him the bad news that Simmons won’t be available to be drafted for a few more years.
— Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) April 26, 2019
Simmons is rated as the No. 614 overall player and No. 48 defensive tackle in the 2019 class according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. If you’ll remember, the massive defensive tackle was lauded by Jeremy Pruitt as being able to almost alley-oop a dunk in basketball during Pruitt’s press conference after the early signing period.
“I asked him the other day, ‘how much do you weight?’ and he said 352,” Pruitt said on that Wednesday. “I told him, ‘when we offered you a scholarship, our agreement was that you had to be 325,’ and he said, ‘well coach, I can dunk a basketball right now,’ and I said, ‘well I want you to video and send it to me.
“Well, he did dunk it, but it was an alley-oop, so I told him that he had to get to 325 so he could get off the ground with a ball in his hand to do it. So that tells you a little bit about how he can move.”
Simmons then responded to Pruitt and posted a video of himself taking the alley-oop and dunking the ball, all while weighing around 350 pounds.
The second and third round of the NFL Draft take place on Friday, and the fourth through seventh rounds will conclude the draft on Saturday.