- Damon Sayles, RecruitingNation
With his commitment to Stanford Saturday afternoon, ESPN Watch List safety Brandon Simmons (Arlington, Texas/Mansfield Timberview) had Oklahoma fans asking one question: Will he still visit Norman, Okla.?
Simmons had a five-school tour planned from Thursday through Tuesday, and Oklahoma was the last stop on the itinerary. After committing to Stanford on his visit, Simmons said plans for the immediate future have changed.
“I don’t think I’ll be taking that visit now,” Simmons said. “I found everything I wanted [in Stanford].”
Simmons, a 6-foot, 182-pound defensive back, became the Cardinal’s first commitment of the 2014 class after giving his verbal pledge to Stanford coach David Shaw before the Cardinal’s spring game. He chose Stanford over UCLA, Oklahoma, Baylor, USC and Harvard.
Simmons visited USC and UCLA on Thursday, and on Friday, he visited Cal. The idea of playing in the Pac-12 was intriguing, but the idea of attending a school where academics was just as good as -- if not better than -- the athletic program was too good for Simmons to pass up. A future business major, Simmons held Stanford high on his list because of academics. It also was a reason why Harvard was a finalist.
“I was looking for a place that accommodated both [academics and athletics], and academics is one of biggest things at Stanford,” said Simmons, who carries a 98 average and is ranked No. 23 overall out of a class of 500 students. “They’re becoming a powerhouse in college football, but academics is big. At the end of the day, that’s what you really need.”
Simmons is Stanford’s first signee from Texas since the 2012 class. In addition to the aforementioned schools, he had offers from programs such as Michigan, TCU, Texas A&M, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Washington and West Virginia -- the school where his father Kashann played college ball in the 1990s.
Simmons, his father and Stanford recruiting coordinator Mike Sanford have been in close contact for months, and Simmons said the relationship built with Sanford also played a role in his decision.
“He made it a lot easier overall,” Simmons said. “He’s just a normal guy who’s real easy to talk to. It wasn’t awkward like talking to some coaches. It was kind of like calling one of my friends. I thought he did a good job recruiting me.”
While Simmons unintentionally disappointed the fans from other programs -- particularly Oklahoma with his potential visit cancellation -- he admitted to being content with his decision. In addition to being the first commitment for the Cardinal, he’s also excited about helping the program build on the 2014 class.
“It’s a good feeling, kind of like that girl you’ve been talking to and you finally get to go out with her,” Simmons said. “It’s just a relief. Now I can focus on other things. I know the calls are probably not going to stop, but it’s good knowing I’m going to this school.”
With his commitment to Stanford Saturday afternoon, ESPN Watch List safety Brandon Simmons (Arlington, Texas/Mansfield Timberview) had Oklahoma fans asking one question: Will he still visit Norman, Okla.