Darrell Simmons had met only one of his fellow Iowa State commits before last weekend.
Simmons, a 6-foot-3, 280-pound offensive guard from East St. Louis, Ill., committed to the Cyclones in June but has only had a chance to develop a relationship with DJ Miller, another St. Louis native. His official visit to Ames gave him an opportunity to meet face-to-face with the majority of the Cyclones’ other 2019 pledges.
“It went really good. I got to know a lot of the recruits better. I got to meet some of the recruits’ parents and got to meet some more coaches,” Simmons told Cyclone Fanatic in a phone interview on Wednesday. “It was cool to finally meet some of the guys who aren’t as close as others. I’d met one before, DJ Miller, but, you know, it was cool to get around them and see how they act and what type of people they are.”
Iowa State’s 2019 commits are all in a group chat together, but there is a different feel once you get a chance to talk to someone in person. The visit gave Simmons, who chose the Cyclones over offers from Northern Illinois, Ohio and a few FCS programs, his first opportunity to converse with fellow offensive linemen Grant Treiber and Jake Remsburg.
It was also another chance to Simmons to build on his relationship with Iowa State offensive line coach Jeff Meyers.
“I got to know them a little better and got to talk to them a little bit. I got to see what type of people they were,” Simmons said. “I have a really good relationship with Coach Meyers. We talk one or two times every week. He’s a really good coach and I can’t wait to play for him.”
Simmons was in Ames as the Cyclones begin their preparations for the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 28. He said the practices he attended were not overly intense considering most of the team’s marquee players were not fully participating while some of the younger players get their chances to shine for the coaching staff.
Maintaining Iowa State’s rise, and now back-to-back bowl berths, will be one of the biggest goals for Simmons and the rest of the class upon their arrival in Ames.
“We want to win a Big 12 championship so that’s a huge goal for us. Obviously, the last two years they’ve made a bowl game, so we obviously want to make bowl games,” Simmons said. “Just keep stepping up and going farther.”
Simmons, who is considered a three-star recruit and the No. 72 offensive guard in the class by 247Composite, will sign with Iowa State next Wednesday when the initial signing period begins. He will then turn his focus to finishing high school and making the trek to Ames next summer to begin his collegiate career.
“Just keeping my grades up, getting A’s and B’s,” Simmons said of his goals during that time span. “Plus, staying in shape for when I get there in the summer.”