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Virginia Football Recruiting: Jahvoni Simmons signs with UVa

Jahvoni Simmons is a bigtime ILB recruit, and he's physically ready to play. Good thing, because the Hoos are pretty shallow at the position.

Profile: Jahvoni Simmons

High School: Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach, Va.)

Height/weight: 6-1, 237

Ranking: Rivals 4*, ESPN 4*, 247 3*

Additional offers: Alabama, Ohio St, Miami, UNC (pretty much everybody on the east coast)

The consensus top player in this recruiting class, Simmons is the only member of this class in the ESPN300 or the Rivals250. He's a 4-star recruit, pretty much across the board. He's, at worst, a top 10 ILB in the nation.

With the departure of Henry Coley, and only Micah Kiser as a legit MLB prospect on the current roster, this is a great combination of talent and need. Coming out of the same HS as Eli Harold and Corwin Cutler, expectations are certainly high for Simmons.

That Simmons would replace Henry Coley isn't too surprising, since they are very similar players. Simmons is listed at 6'1" 230 LBs, and Coley was about the same, and also came out of Virginia Beach (Bayside HS). The similarities don't end there either. Both are well-built but not too big. Neither is a true burner, nor would they be described as a "sideline-to-sideline" MLB, but both are very good at making plays in the middle of the field, whether it is stuffing a run or covering a short zone.

Simmons appears a bit more athletic than Coley, but Coley was a surer tackler at the same stage. Simmons shows very good instincts for a young LB, making the correct reads and getting into the play quickly. Obviously, a highlight reel isn't going to show Simmons getting out of position, but this does appear to be the norm for Simmons.

At this point, Simmons hasn't shown any man-coverage skills. In a zone, he's solid, getting into his drop and making reads. He has good ball skills as well. Still, his strength is going to be as a run stopper, not as a pass defender. If he's playing as a true freshman, it isn't likely to be in passing situations.

Physically, Simmons is ready to play. Playing LB for Jon Tenuta isn't easy, and there is a steep learning curve. But with only Kiser ahead of him on the depth chart, Simmons may be forced into early action.