Jahvoni Simmons to Virginia: Cavaliers Land 4-Star LB Prospect

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 5, 2014

Credit: 247Sports

Virginia added one of the best defensive stalwarts in the class of 2015 following the commitment of Jahvoni Simmons.

Simmons confirmed the news via his Twitter account:  

The product of Ocean Lakes High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia, is rated as a 4-star prospect and is ranked as the 143rd-best prospect overall and the second-best inside linebacker in the country, according to 247Sports' composite rankings.

His arrival in Charlottesville isn't all that surprising. After lagging behind Virginia Tech for some time, the Cavaliers became the odds-on favorites to land the coveted linebacker in 2014, according to 247Sports' Crystal Ball predictions.

Although Simmons didn't know which school he would choose until recently, he has known for the past four years that a college career was all but assured. In an interview with Bleacher Report's Tyler Donohue, he spoke about how good of a feeling it was for him to receive his first scholarship offer as a freshman:

Having an offer freshman year is definitely a major accomplishment. I think most eighth-graders and freshman would want to get their first offer early. It’s big knowing your parents won’t have to go into their pocket and pay for college.

At the Nike Football Training Camp in March, Simmons revealed what his plan would be for determining his college choice, per ESPN.com's Gerry Hamilton (subscription required).

"I’ll probably narrow it down to 10 before the season," he said. "Then five from there and commit after that. I may commit in mid-season, or after the season.”

One of the first things that stands out about Simmons' game is his tackling ability. Like so many top high school defenders, he's more than capable of laying out the ball-carrier with a huge hit. What Simmons does so well is understand when the situation calls for a little more caution and simply wrapping up the ball-carrier.

Many coaches will look to their inside linebacker to act as the quarterback of the defense, and Simmons is the archetype of that. He reads the game very well, and 247Sports gives him an eight out of 10 in the category for instincts.

At 6'1" and 225 pounds, Simmons may be a bit limited in terms of how much bigger he can get, but he should be able to add more bulk in time. If he can add a little more size and strength, he'd be an even bigger force on the inside.

Simmons should figure into Virginia's defensive plans within a few years and possibly right when he steps onto the field. He possesses everything you look for in a blue-chip inside linebacker.