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McKeesport grad Simmons transfers to Southern California

| Wednesday, June 5, 2013, 10:18 p.m.

Delvon Simmons tried the east coast and the southwest.

Now it is on to sunny southern California for the former McKeesport five-star recruit.

Simmons finalized his transfer from Texas Tech to USC on Wednesday, making it the third school in a span of 27 months that the defensive tackle has made a verbal commitment to play football.

Simmons originally committed to North Carolina in February of 2011 before requesting a release a few weeks later and committing to Texas Tech.

Simmons announced his decision on Twitter.

“Just made it official I'm gonna be a USC Trojan #FightOn,” he tweeted.

Former McKeesport coach Jim Ward helped Simmons through the transfer process. Simmons visited USC and Miami (Fla.) two weeks ago before deciding on USC.

“He is happy with his decision,” Ward said. “And I really do believe it was a mature decision. This is a kid who was completely on the verge of becoming a dominant Big 12 defensive lineman and now he gets that opportunity.”

Because of NCAA transfer rules, Simmons will be forced to sit out the 2013 season but will have two years of eligibility left, beginning in 2014.

“That will allow him to build his strength and power and improve his skills,” Ward said. “He will sit out a year and learn and be able to step in as a starter after a year. They pursued him very hard.”

Simmons played in 10 games as a true freshman and finished with 13 tackles. The 6-foot-5, 300-pounder started all 13 games his sophomore year, collecting 27 tackles and two sacks. He had a career high six tackles in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

But when Tommy Tuberville resigned following the season and was replaced by Kliff Kingsbury, Simmons didn't fit in with the newly installed 3-4 defensive system brought in by the new staff.

“Texas Tech is more pure 3-4, two-gap team,” Ward said. “Delvon is better suited for a 4-3, one-gap system.”

At USC, Simmons will play under an all-star defensive coaching staff led by head coach Lane Kiffin, defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast and defensive line coach Ed Orgeron.

“Delvon realizes that the defensive line coach has a tremendous history of developing players,” Ward said. “They also presented him a great academic package that he will be able to walk out of there with a degree.”

Ward is sure USC will be Simmons' final stop. Simmons originally choose North Carolina over finalists USC and Oregon in 2011 but quickly asked for his release days after UNC defensive line coach Brian Baker took the same position with the Dallas Cowboys.

Signing day was Feb. 3 and Baker took the Cowboys job Feb. 8. Simmons was granted his release March 16 and committed to Texas Tech on April 14.

Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at mkaboly@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.

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