Oakleaf quarterback Walt Simmons III was the latest prospect in Northeast Florida to make his college intentions known, committing to East Carolina on August 1. 1010XL caught up with Simmons to discuss his commitment.
“My dad and I had been talking about it for a while because East Carolina had always been talking with me,” Simmons told 1010XL. “I’m the only quarterback they have offered in the class of 2021 and they said they weren’t taking anybody but me. We took that into consideration, that they really wanted me and we took it upon ourselves to go up and see East Carolina even though it was a dead period, so we weren’t with any coaches or anything. We saw the campus and how it was up there and we liked it and we went ahead and decided to commit on my mom’s birthday.”
Simmons, (6-foot-2, 180 pounds) is a three-star prospect and a top-30 duel-threat quarterback nationally according to 247sports.com.
Last season, Oakleaf was led by Jalen Rivers and Chantz Williams, two four-star prospects who have both since moved on to the University of Miami. Simmons was asked how much Rivers and Williams helped prepare him for the recruiting experience.
“Jalen and Chantz, they took me up under their wing and took me on visits with them to check out different places that they had visited,” Simmons said. “I noticed it and saw how good the college guys live, so I just kept grinding and kept working out and everything. I performed on the field and everything fell into place and I got my offers and it gave me a chance to play college football.”
Simmons was asked how challenging this off-season has been for a high school athlete amidst the Coronavirus pandemic.
“This off-season has been a little difficult, but we’ve been able to persevere through everything,” he said. “We have been able to get our grind in and still be able to work out, lift and be around the team.”
Regarding the Coronavirus, Simmons was asked if he and his teammates want to play the 2020 high school football season.
“We talk about that every day,” Simmons said. “We want to get out there and play and get back to the normal. Football gives us something to do and without football it’s been a really long off-season with nothing to do.
“My dad is all for it and we both want a season and we want to play. Everybody in my family wants to see me play and see how the team does this year. The community wants us to play, everybody wants us to play.”
As for what type of quarterback East Carolina is getting in Simmons, he says they are getting a player who will put in the work.
“They are getting a hard worker,” Simmons said. “I work hard all the time and all my work translates to the field. I’m going to do what I need to do to get the ball downfield, whether it’s pass, run, or giving the ball to one of my running backs. I’m going to do everything I can possible do to get the ball in the end zone.”
Finally, as Simmons gets ready for his senior season, he talked about Oakleaf high school has meant to him.
“To be a Knight means everything,” Simmons said. “Oakleaf has a lot going for it as a school and also in the community. Oakleaf is just a good place to be around and if you ever get the chance to come to Oakleaf, it will be something nice to experience.”
(You can follow Ryan Green on Twitter @RyanGreen1010XL)