"You gotta work hard everyday. You gotta be hungry. And you just can’t care."
Greg Simmons internalized this mantra from an Alabama recruiter he met some time ago, awed by his national championship ring.
Simmons, a three-star recruit from Florida rated as the 16th-best inside linebacker in the Class of 2016, has now placed the University of Maryland among his growing collection of scholarship offers. Unlike his other offers, however, he has a special affection for College Park.
"Big city! Big chance! Ah man. It's so much more than that," he told Testudo Times. "The crowd. The stadium jammed packed. Like when they play Michigan or Ohio State. The competition is great. It’s something that I want to be a part of."
His top schools are Maryland, Cincinnati, FAU and North Carolina-Charlotte.
"Right now everybody's in the middle," he said. "I'm really not leaning towards nobody but If I was leaning, it would be towards Maryland."
To strengthen the defense, Simmons would likely be asked to do a lot.
"Maryland runs a 3-4 so it's probably going to be two inside backers," he said. " As far as I know, one of the coaches told me that he wants me to blitz. It doesn’t matter to me, it's wherever the coach puts me and I know they're going to put me in a position to be successful.
"I love blitzing. It’s a part of my game. I love being blitzed. I can go full speed and try to take somebody’s head off."
Yes. Who doesn't love that type of bravado from a linebacker? There is a danger that comes with that. Live by the blitz, die by the blitz. Simmons describes how his eagerness resulted in him doubting himself this past season.
"One of our games, we were down," he recalled. "I felt like I made a couple of big mistakes. Blitzed when I wasn’t supposed to. I dropped the wrong way in coverage and it lead to a 30-yard gain. It kept happening repeatedly. Bam, bam, bam."
Simmons never quit. He remained resilient.
"I did the right thing at the right time. I read the quarterbacks eyes, picked the ball off and took it back about 20 yards. We were just ready to play after that."
Simmons is a tough kid. As one of the highest rated linebackers in the 2016 class, he's leaning toward Maryland and looking to become a scout, himself. Then maybe he'll have his own ring and mantra to recruit the nation's best players.