With all the excitement of Maryland's 2015 recruiting class, it's easy to forget how talented the local crop is in 2016. There's an unbelievable crop of blue-chip athletes in the area, and few are better than five-star DeMatha defensive end Shane Simmons.
Standing at 6'4 and 221 pounds, Simmons is the latest DeMatha recruit to get national attention. He might also be the school's best talent since Cyrus Kouandjio, currently with the Buffalo Bills. Rated as the 31st-best player in the country by the 247sports composite, Simmons is considered the second-best strongside defensive end in the nation as well as the best player in the state of Maryland.
That's why this came as welcome news on another offseason Saturday:
My Top 5 schools Who will it be ??? pic.twitter.com/wv0yeMNv1k— Just Watch... (@Shizzeee_) July 19, 2014
For those that can't see the picture, that's his top five (in no order) of Maryland, Ohio State, Penn State, Florida State and Alabama.
What about 2015?
What about 2015?
Beyond the obvious "a five-star recruit named Maryland in his top five," there's a lot to like here. Simmons happens to fit pretty nicely into Maryland's scheme and depth chart. The Terrapins have shown a knack for getting production out of players who could slot in at either defensive end or the WILL linebacking position (Marcus Whitfield, for example). He would also be coming on to campus at 2016 -- right after current SDE starter Ande Monroe graduates. Kingsley Opara may well have moved to nose tackle by then, leaving Simmons with a pretty outstanding chance to play as a true freshman.
I've also seen Simmons in person and talked to him, at the recent Nike camp in the area. He was one of the best linemen at the entire event (which featured blue-chippers from the class a year ahead of him as well), and spoke highly of the Terps when I talked to him.
Maryland has not been able to land a DeMatha kid in years, despite being located less than two miles from the local powerhouse. Michael Williams (class of 2011) was the last DeMatha player to pledge to Maryland. Williams later elected to join the track team at Tennessee.
Here's Simmons's highlight tape. Enjoy.