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July 1, 2005

Simmons is in

Fairfield (Calif.) Armijo defensive lineman Derek Simmons is USC's newest verbal commitment.

The 6-foot-4, 280-pound gave the Trojan's a commitment after attending USC's Rising Senior Camp earlier this week. While the commitment was a surprise to many, Simmons was well aware of the Trojan coaching staff's potential scholarship offer.

To say it was an exciting week for Derek Simmons is a bit of an understatement. Driving down to the University of Southern California, Simmons was prepared and focused to make a splash at the Trojan's Rising Senior Camp.

Having spoken with the USC coaches just weeks beforehand, Simmons knew a good performance at the camp would result in a scholarship offer. However, that knowledge didn't make it any easier to perform in front of the back-to-back national champs.

"I wanted to get an offer, but at the same time, I didn't want to put too much pressure on myself," said Simmons. "If I put too much pressure on myself I might have cracked and done horribly. I definitely had to bust my butt to get a scholarship, but I tried to have fun too."

Simmons didn't crack, and his performance was exactly what the Trojan coaching staff was looking for. Pete Carroll called Simmons and his family into his office after the camp to give him the news he'd been waiting for.

"It was crazy," laughed Simmons. "I expected it, but then I didn't expect it. The coaches said if I did well at this camp that they might make an offer, but it came so soon. Coach Carroll just told me about the school, what to expect, and said they were only offering four scholarships to defensive linemen this year, so I guess I was one of them."

Although his name maybe new to USC fans, Simmons is a highly coveted PAC-10 recruit.

"I had 14 offers," said Simmons. "Arizona, Arizona State, Washington, Washington State, Oregon, Oregon State, Fresno State, UNLV, Boston College ... that's all I can remember."

Despite the attention, Simmons commitment is solid. For USC fans who haven't seen Simmons play, he had this to say.

"I'm going to play hard every down, they can expect that," said Simmons. "I provide a lot of energy and speed from the outside. I can get stronger, but I have good footwork and I'm a coachable player."

USCFootball.com will keep in touch with Derek Simmons as he contemplates taking official visits this fall.

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