Photo courtesy of Kelly Donoho/MSU Athletics
One of the most dominant defensive linemen in all of college football is headed to the NFL.
Mississippi State DL Jeffery Simmons announced that he will forgo his senior season and enter the 2019 NFL Draft.
“For the past three years at Mississippi State, I have poured my heart into everything I did on the field, in the classroom and in the community,” Simmons said in a letter. “This place taught me to never give up, and it instilled a desire and a work ethic to reach my ultimate goal. I intend to complete my degree. I have so much passion for this game, and I am ready to take the next step as I declare for the 2019 NFL Draft.”
The Macon, Mississippi native was a force on the MSU defensive line all season, racking up 59 tackles & 15.5 tackles for loss, and he’s projected to be a first-round pick in several mock drafts.
Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller did say that Simmons has first-round talent, but a video of the prospect assaulting a woman that surfaced in 2016 could raise red flags during the draft process.
“Conversations this week led me to believe that a number of teams will still value Simmons as a Round 1 talent,” Miller said back in October. “Multiple evaluators confirmed first-round grades for him, and one said Simmons is a top-10 player without the video.”
In his letter, Simmons did not specially address the incident, but said, “not everyone gets a second chance, but I am so grateful I did.”
Simmons also stated that he will play in the Bulldogs’ upcoming matchup with Iowa in the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day.
“I have always been a man of my word, and I always finish what I start. Therefore, on New Year’s Day, I will wear the Maroon and White one last time with my brothers and play in the Outback Bowl in Tampa.”
After the regular season ended, Simmons was awarded the C Spire Conerly Trophy, which is given to the top college football player in the state each year.
Simmons will join fellow Bulldog and member of the All-SEC first-team DE Montez Sweat in the upcoming draft class. Sweat led the team in sacks with 13.5 and will most likely hear his name called in the first round.