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McKeesport star signs with Texas Tech

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By John Santa
Friday, April 15, 2011

McKeesport football coach Jim Ward began fielding questions about standout defensive tackle Delvon Simmon's future nine months ago.

On Thursday, Ward was relieved to finally be able to provide an answer.

Simmons signed a binding letter of intent to play at Texas Tech starting next season, ending one of the longest, widest-spanning recruiting processes in McKeesport history.

"I know I'm happy its all over," Ward said. "I don't feel like it's ever ended.

"I'm just glad for him. I feel like, in the end, each school presented a great opportunity."

The 6-foot-5, 265-pound Simmons, who didn't return phone calls from the Tribune-Review yesterday, chose Texas Tech over 20 Division I offers. His final decision, however, came down to offers from Texas Tech, Southern Cal and Pitt.

"It was hard for him," Ward said of Simmons who made an unofficial visit to Pitt last week. "He liked (USC and Pitt) a lot. I think that's probably what took him so long to make a decision."

Simmons will be joined at Texas Tech next season by McKeesport linebacker Branden Jackson and Clairton defensive end Desimon Green.

Simmons' journey to Lubbock, Texas, almost never happened.

After originally committing to North Carolina on National Signing Day on Feb. 3, Simmons asked Tar Heels coach Butch Davis to be released from his agreement last month. That decision came after North Carolina defensive line coach Brian Baker took the same job with the Dallas Cowboys five days after Signing Day.

When Texas Tech hired former TCU secondary coach Chad Glasgow as its defensive coordinator, Simmons became sold on becoming a Red Raider.

Glasgow previously coached 10 years at TCU and was an original member of coach Gary Patterson's staff. He will employ a 4-5 defensive front that Simmons feels comfortable with.

"It's a similar scheme to what he would have played at North Carolina," Ward said. "Scheme always remained very important to him. This now kind of evened Texas Tech out, now that they hired that new defensive coordinator."

Simmons recorded a team-high 77 tackles — 17 for a loss — with seven sacks during his senior season at McKeesport. He also had three sacks and recovered a fumble as Pennsylvania's lone representative in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January in San Antonio.

"He felt this was the best opportunity for him," Ward said.

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