South Carolina Football: Gamecocks get bigger with massive junior college tackle

South Carolina football brought in a junior college stud in Bamberg, South Carolina native Jerome Simmons.

South Carolina football helmet
South Carolina football helmet / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The Early Signing Period for college football began on Wednesday, and National Letters of Intent have been flying in from all over the country. While most of those NLIs are not sent in via fax machine anymore, commitments are not official until paperwork is completed. The South Carolina football program is hoping to have most of their class secured by the end of the Early Signing Period.

One of the players in the class who made things official is 4-star junior college defensive tackle Jerome Simmons.

Position: DT
Recruiting Ranking: 4 stars (247Sports), 3 stars (On3, ESPN, Rivals)
Measurables: 6'4"; 330 pounds;
Former Player Comp: Byron Jerideau

Jerome Simmons is a big dude. The South Carolina native spent two years playing at the junior college level, but the Highland Community College product announced a commitment to the South Carolina football program last week as the 2nd-ranked defensive tackle in the junior college ranks.

Simmons is a big defensive tackle who will play a nose tackle role in Columbia. If the Gamecocks run the 3-3-5 base defense that they utilized at the end of the 2023 regular season, the big man could be a factor in the middle. He also could play in short-yardage situations in the 4-2-5 and/or goal line formations.

If Simmons' reported weight is accurate, he would be the heaviest defensive lineman on the team. Nick Barrett, Jamaal Whyce, and fellow transfer portal tackle Deandre Jules are all nose tackle candidates, as well, and veteran Boogie Huntley has played the role in the past despite being smaller than most noses.

Simmons is similar to former Gamecock Byron Jerideau. He is a space-eating big fella who will take up multiple blockers in order to help out the USC defense's run stopping. Both Jerideau and Simmons are more athletic than they look, and if Simmons can develop into the type of player that Big Byron did, he will be a good player for the Gamecocks.

Next year's role for Simmons will be determined this offseason. If he is in shape and as big and strong as advertised, he will play. If not, he could be in line for a redshirt so that he can play a role next year after Jules and Huntley graduate.

You can watch some of his film here.

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