The Syracuse Orange have a massive experience hole to fill in its secondary. Luckily for Syracuse, the program took one step on Saturday to fill that hole. New Mexico State defensive back Jason Simmons Jr. announced that he’ll transfer to Syracuse.
Simmons started eight games at safety for New Mexico State during his true freshman season in 2019. He logged 62 total tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, three pass break ups, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery. The Aggies didn’t play in 2020 after opting out of the season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Simmons comes from an athletic family. His father, Jason Simmons Sr. played football at Arizona State and was selected in the fifth round of the 1998 draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He also played for the Houston Texans before switching to coaching. Simmons Sr. served for nine years on the Green Bay Packers coaching staff before becoming the secondary coach for the Carolina Panthers, where he coaches today. Simmons Jr’s younger sister, Jaddan, is currently a freshman on the Arizona State women’s basketball team.
Syracuse submitted an offer for Simmons during his initial recruiting cycle and the Orange were his only Power Five offer. Other Power Five schools were interested in landing Simmons through the transfer portal, including Michigan State and TCU. He was a three-star recruit coming out of Lancaster, Texas. Simmons becomes the second transfer player to join Syracuse this offseason along with quarterback Garrett Shrader.
The Orange need Simmons in the secondary, where he’ll be needed as an experienced starter. Syracuse has lost three starters from the secondary to the NFL draft in Andre Cisco, Trill Williams, and Ifeatu Melifonwu. Simmons will have three years of eligibility remaining and looks to be in prime condition to be an opening day starter.