The Virginia Tech Hokies are on a solid stretch of recruiting high-level high school players. As of Monday afternoon, the Hokies rose to fourth in the ACC in the 2022 National Recruiting Class due to some stellar commitments. This is the best recruiting stretch so far this offseason. One hard commit could be the next elite defender of the Hokies football program. On June 19th, four-star linebacker Xavier Simmons committed to play for the Hokies starting in 2022.
Simmons is a dynamic and multipurpose linebacker from Northwest Guilford in Greensboro, North Carolina. According to 247Sports, Simmons ranks as the 190th best prospect in the nation, 22nd best linebacker, and seventh-best player from North Carolina. Simmons measures in at 6-3, 235 pounds. He is one of the bigger-sized defenders outside of the defensive line in the current 2022 class. He is one of the biggest and most athletic linebackers since Dax Hollifield came into the program.
Last season for the Vikings, Simmons accumulated 61 total tackles, 22 solo tackles, five forced fumbles, and two sacks. Simmons plays as a traditional middle linebacker, an outside linebacker, and a stand-up defensive end in multiple packages. For a Hokies defense is striving for dynamic playmakers, Simmons is a player that can fit the scheme of several different packages.
His film and highlights display the big, solid, and consistent play he brings defensively. He is excellent at reading the transition of the plays in the backfield, including against the RPO (run-pass-option). Simmons can maneuver through blocks in-between the tackles to get into the backfield and makes plays. He also possesses the quick cuts to run pursuit angles towards the ballcarrier on the outside, which highlights his determination, instincts, and smart playmaking skills.
As a pass rusher on the edge, he possesses a high motor that can make it difficult for the opposing linemen to backpedal fast in pass plays. He has great arm length to make potential pass breakups in the backfield, similar to what Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt does. Simmons is an elusive rusher that can play along the strongside against bigger offensive tackles.
Simmons is also a great playmaker on special teams, particularly in the kickoff. He possesses quick agility that makes him one of the first defenders to get to the return specialist. His ability to properly mirror the returner’s hips, much like on defense, makes him a difficult defender to avoid. He is a defender that does not often miss his assignments or the ball carrier.
Simmons currently has offers from the South Carolina Gamecocks, North Carolina Tar Heels, Duke Blue Devils, NC State Wolfpack, Maryland Terrapins, Oklahoma Sooners, Missouri Tigers, and the Illinois Fighting Illini.
Simmons remains a hard commit towards the Hokies program. If he signs with the Hokies to play football in the 2022 College Football season, he could be a player that finds himself as a starter or role player instantly. His talent and skills will make a fan favorite, but his determination will make a favorite in the football program.