The Clemson Insider recently spoke with a standout defensive tackle on Clemson’s recruiting radar to get his thoughts on the departure of Todd Bates to Oklahoma, and the Tigers’ hire of Nick Eason to replace Bates as the defensive tackles coach.
Savannah (Ga.) Calvary Day School’s Terry Simmons – a 6-foot-2, 305-pound junior in the 2023 class with several FBS offers – admits he wasn’t too surprised when he heard that Bates would be heading to Oklahoma to join Brent Venables’ staff as the associate head coach and co-defensive coordinator.
“I wasn’t shocked, I was more intrigued than anything,” Simmons said. “It’s not a deal-breaker for me because it’s a business and there’s plenty of other capable coaches that I feel I’d do well under.”
Simmons is familiar with Eason, who actually played for Simmons’ head coach at Calvary Day, Mark Stroud, back when Stroud was the head coach at Eason’s alma mater, Toombs County High.
“It’s a familiar face,” Simmons said of Eason. “My head coach, Mark Stroud, was his coach back in the day, and it helps a lot knowing that they have that connection. My coach tells me that we’re alike personality wise and in our play style.”
“Hopefully I get to meet him soon,” Simmons added.
Simmons finished his junior season in 2021 with 67 total tackles, 22 tackles for loss, four sacks and four passes defended in 13 games for a Calvary Day team that went 12-1.
Clemson has shown interest in Simmons, who was recently in contact with Tigers defensive analyst DeAndre McDaniel.
“I know Coach McDaniel is high on me,” Simmons said.
Simmons made an unofficial visit to Clemson for the Wake Forest game in November and plans to get back on campus for another visit sometime this spring.
What is he most looking forward to about that return trip to Tiger Town?
“A meeting with the new coaching staff,” he said. “I’d like to get to know everyone up there a little better.”
So far, the only visits Simmons has scheduled are to UNC and UNC Charlotte this month.
Northwestern, Georgia Southern, Florida Atlantic, Central Michigan, Liberty and Gardner-Webb have offered Simmons, while schools such as UNC, Charlotte, West Virginia, Purdue, Coastal Carolina, Appalachian State and UCF have shown interest, along with Clemson.
Simmons hopes to have his commitment made by around this time next year.
An offer from Clemson, should he receive one in the future, would certainly have a significant impact on his recruitment.
“I feel that they’d be a top school based off what they bring to the table coaching wise and also culture wise,” he said, “and I’d be very grateful to continue a relationship with the Tigers.”
“What stands out the most is the recent history and the culture,” he added of Clemson. “The players, especially the defense, have been great in recent years, so I feel as that I’d be able to contribute to that and I’d feel great to do so.”
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