T.J. Simmons Commits to UCLA: What the Florida RB Recruit Brings to the Bruins

Jason FrayCorrespondent IJune 30, 2014

T.J. Simmons
T.J. SimmonsPhoto courtesy of 247Sports.com

Jim Mora and the UCLA football team received some good news Monday as talented 3-star running back T.J. Simmons committed to the Bruins, as reported by Amy Campbell of Scout.com and Ed Lewis of BruinSportsReport.com

The Lakeland, Florida native opted for UCLA over the likes of Ohio State, Florida, Auburn, Notre Dame and Wisconsin, among others. 

Simmons' addition is a massive coup for Mora and the staff. It is no secret that the Bruins are targeting speed on the offensive side of the ball for this recruiting cycle. This axiom is especially true in regards to the backfield. 

Nicknamed "Speedie," Simmons brings very good speed to the table and is a threat to take the ball to the house at any time—as seen in his highlights. This characteristic is somewhat lacking within UCLA's current stable of backs.

Not only is Simmons proficient when it comes to quickness and pure speed but he's also a powerful runner with a strong lower base. He's good at getting low and exploding through holes up the field. 

Simmons won't be overly elusive in terms of making people miss, but he's a one-cut-and-go type of runner. In essence, he's in the mold of a traditional Kennedy Polamalu running back.

From a personality standpoint, Simmons is impressive. He appears to be a very respectful and articulate young man. 

As is the case with many commits on the other side of the country, holding onto Simmons might be difficult. Last year, fellow Florida running back Marlon Mack had committed to the Bruins. However, he ended up staying closer to home and signed with South Florida. 

Simmons has visited UCLA unofficially. Mack committed to the Bruins without stepping foot on campus. Having a familiarity with the campus and area could bode well for the Bruins in the long run. 

The commitment of an elite tailback from Florida truly does add credence to the thought that UCLA is becoming a prominent program. In previous years, UCLA beating out perennial powers for the likes of a recruit of this level would be unheard of—especially one residing on the opposite coast. 

He and current running back commit Bolu Olorunfunmi could make a nice combination of power and speed for the Bruins in the future.