South Carolina football coach Shane Beamer announced a #WelcomeHome on Sunday after a weekend full of visitors from the transfer portal. There wasn’t any immediate reporting about which player it could have been who made his pledge to the program, so Gamecock fans spent much of last night speculating about who the mystery man could be.
It appears that the wait is over.
Just before lunch on Monday, big defensive tackle Jerome Simmons announced his commitment to the South Carolina football program.
Simmons, a South Carolina native from Bamberg, spent two seasons at Highland Community College (Junior College) but will return to his home state to play for the Gamecocks and defensive line coach Travian Robertson. USC beat out good programs like Georgia and Kansas State for the big junior college product. He is Carolina’s only defensive tackle commit in the ’24 cycle.
Simmons, listed at 6’4″ and 333 pounds by 247Sports, is a mountain of a man who will fit in nicely at the nose tackle spot if the Gamecocks continue to roll with the 3-3-5 base defense that they utilized late in the year for their best three performances of the season.
As a player, Simmons is a run-stopper first. A threat to eat a double-team in the middle of the line every play, the big man provides more beef inside than any Gamecock other than Nick Barrett, a player who hasn’t quite lived up to expectations in garnet and black.
Just because Simmons is big doesn’t mean he can’t move, however, Featuring a little more athleticism in his game than most players his size, he has a little bit of pass rush juice and even returned a tip-drill interception for a nice gain this past year during his junior college season.
Simmons will have a chance to be the go-to player at nose tackle if things go well for him this offseason. Depending on which defensive front the South Carolina football coaching staff decides to run, defensive tackles Boogie Huntley, TJ Sanders, Tonka Hemingway, and Nick Barrett will all compete with Simmons for playing time next fall.
You can watch some of his high school film (class of 2022) here.