|Olathe North's Isaiah Simmons making a tackle. Photo|
Position: Free Safety
Weight: 200 lbs.
Jarard Milo, Olathe North/Northwest (2005-2007); Victor Simmons, Olathe North (2008-2010)
We've had some very highly recruited players go through the Sunflower League the past decade. Free State's Christian Ballard, Olathe South's Braden Smith and Olathe North's current tight end, Josh Moore, have all had a list of elite FBS offers to select from. Simmons will likely be the next to join that list. The probable blue-chip junior already holds offers from Kansas and Missouri, and he should be one of the most targeted safety prospects in the country for the Class of 2016.
Simmons is the type of athlete every defensive coach in the country wishes they had, as he's the ultimate ballhawking safety. He's hard for quarterbacks to look off, his speed and size allow him nearly unlimited range over the top, and he shows the instincts of a great defensive back. Last year he recorded five interceptions, which was tied for the most in the Sunflower League. He's also excellent at supporting the run and limiting receiver's yards after catch. He recorded 91 tackles last fall, including multiple bone-crushing hits that put the fear of God into receivers running crossing routes.
It should come as no surprise Simmons is such a talent. His older brother, Victor, now a starting linebacker at Kansas, laid siege to the Sunflower League in the late 2000s. Isaiah (who currently holds the crown as the 6A state Long Jump champion) is basically a bigger, rangier version of Victor, and it helps he (Isaiah) is already playing and developing at his natural position as a safety. Looking ahead, Olathe North is going to have quite the list of notable players on their roster this fall. But perhaps none have the upside and potential of the uber-talented safety who will be roaming in their secondary.