The Texas Longhorns continued to bolster the defense at the point of attack with the signing of elite edge Colin Simmons on Early Signing Day.
Texas won one of the most hotly-contested recruitments for the Longhorns in the cycle, with Texas, the Miami Hurricanes, and the LSU Tigers leading the pack at the end. He took four official visits in June — including to Texas and the Texas A&M Aggies — while tagging on an unofficial visit to the Tigers in July. However, when the dust settled, Simmons made his pledge to the Longhorns.
In a decision that came down to the final minutes, Simmons said he chose Texas because he believes the Longhorns give him the best chance to take care of his family.
Like consensus five-star wide receiver Ryan Wingo, the expectation was that the coaching staff would have to continue recruiting Simmons like he was uncommitted leading up to the early signing period, but Simmons never wavered after his pledge.
This marks the second consecutive year that the Longhorns’ defensive coaches went all-in on an elite in-state player at a position of need and came away with his services after securing a flip from the Aggies in the nation’s No. 1 linebacker, Anthony Hill Jr.
During his three years at Duncanville, Simmons was a key part of their dominant run atop Class 6A in winning consecutive state titles, anchoring the defense and wreaking havoc in all aspects of the game with a proven ability to beat blockers off of the edge, turning in 41.5 sacks in his three seasons as a starter for the Panthers and earning 6A Defensive Player of the Year honors as a Junior.
Analysis (by Daniel Seahorn):
Simmons possesses a muscular, athletic frame at 6’3, 225 pounds and he still has plenty of room to continue filling out physically. Has been extremely productive and impactful as a defender for a loaded Duncanville squad. Has been named his district’s MVP for the past two years and during that time he accumulated 34.5 sacks and 33 TFLs (number of TFLs for 2021 unknown). Simmons broke the school sack record in 2022 with 22.5 on the way to helping Duncanville win a state championship. Comfortable working out of a two-point or three-point stance on the edge. Shows very good ball get-off and burst at the snap of the football. Immediately puts pressure on offensive linemen with his ability to close distance in a hurry. Possesses the ability to dip his shoulder and bend as he runs the arc as a pass rusher. Flashes the ability to covert speed to power as a rusher. Does a solid job of using hands instead solely depending on his athleticism. Simmons is a finisher when he gets into the backfield and the production backs it up. You see teams regularly try to send a back as help against him in pass protection and it just doesn’t matter. Shows great awareness to get his hands up against quick passes and screens when he knows he isn’t going to be able to get to the quarterback. Batted down 13 passes (!!!) in 2022. Shows on tape he can be disruptive against the run regardless if you run away or at him. He is athletic enough to run down plays from the backside and he is strong and savvy enough to disrupt pullers and set the edge on the frontside. Simmons possesses some scary closing speed for his size in pursuit of the ball. Simmons is considered the nation’s top edge prospect for a reason and it shows from snap to snap on tape. He possesses the potential to be an absolute menace at the next level and be the kind of player that coordinators have to game plan for each week. He’s a future Sunday player as long as he arrives on campus with the right mindset and work ethic.
Simmons, the top-rated defensive prospect in the class for Texas, provides some positional versatility for the Longhorns, depending on how his body develops once he arrives in Austin. He currently does his best work in a two-point stance coming off of the edge, but could possibly play linebacker or a hand-in-the-dirt edge rusher as his body transforms in the Texas strength and conditioning program.
The Longhorns’ haul on the defensive side of the ball is nothing short of elite in 2024 ahead of the move to the SEC. Simmons leads a trio of elite, in-state defensive prospects, with five-star safety Xavier Filsaime and high four-star corner Kobe Black joining the class in the weeks leading up to Early Signing Day.
A consensus five-star prospect, Simmons is ranked as the No. 24 player nationally and the No. 4 edge, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.