It's hard to know Delvon Simmons' thoughts as to exactly why he signed with the University of North Carolina, asked for his release and then signed with Texas Tech Thursday. It seemed the McKeesport High School standout defensive lineman rarely talked to the media after getting his release from North Carolina. McKeesport coach Jim Ward did most of the talking.
But judging from Ward's comments, it sounds like Simmons felt a little deceived by North Carolina.
Simmons signed with North Carolina, but a few days later defensive line coach Brian Baker left to become an assistant coach with the Dallas Cowboys. Ward said Baker was probably the main reason Simmons chose North Carolina over Texas Tech, USC and Pitt in the first place. Baker had many years of experience at the NFL level.
"[Baker] had just come out of the NFL after 15 years and with that [the NFL] being a goal of Delvon's, that was real important to him," Ward said. "There were rumors a couple days before signing date that [Baker] was leaving. We called North Carolina and asked and were assured that wasn't true. Then a couple days after signing date, he in fact did leave."
So Simmons wasn't happy, asked for a release from his letter of intent and got it. While Simmons might have felt deceived, what happened is certainly not a new story. Unfortunately, it happens all the time. If a college assistant coach gets another job a few weeks before signing date, often times he will stay on until after signing date, just so recruiting isn't jeopardized. A school might know a coach is leaving, but waits until after signing date to announce it. Maybe that didn't happen at North Carolina. I don't know. But if Ward and Simmons had heard the rumors about Baker leaving, it sounds like there was something to it. In the end, the one who suffers is the high school kid who might have established a nice relationship with the coach. But that's big-time college football for you.
Simmons visited Pitt last week and strongly considered the Panthers after getting his release from UNC.
I don't know about you, but it is still hard for me to believe that Texas Tech landed three players from the WPIAL - Simmons, Clairton's Desimon Green and McKeesport's Branden Jackson. I've been covering recruiting in the WPIAL for close to 30 years, and I never remember one kid seriously mentioning Texas Tech. Not one.
Simmons still must raise his SAT score to be qualified. Jackson is qualified.
WPIAL schools are putting the finishing touches on their season openers for football. In case you didn't know, the WPIAL schedules all games except openers. Schools can choose their own opponent for openers.
The Rally at the Wolvareana, a four-game event at Woodland Hills' Turtle Creek Stadium last year, turned out to be a one-year thing. It didn't draw well enough for game organizers to bring it back.
A nice two-game event will be at Gateway on the first Saturday of the season. Gateway will play host to Harrisburg Bishop McDevitt, while Central Catholic will play in the nightcap against Archbishop Wood, a strong team from the Philadelphia Catholic League. Bishop McDevitt features tight end-defensive end Noah Spence, who is ranked among the top 10 players in the country for the class of 2012.
Another interesting game on the first weekend matches Thomas Jefferson against Woodland Hills. Also, McKeesport will play St. Joan or Arc of Canada.
Something from the "in case you didn't know department": The WPIAL gives playoff revenue back to schools for only the sports of football, basketball and soccer. Playoff revenues (ticket sales, etc.) are split 50/50. For the 2010-11 school year, the WPIAL paid $220,698.64 to schools in the playoffs. Here are the schools that made the most.
1. North Allegheny $12,836.52
2. South Fayette 11,752.60
3. Central Valley 8,430.73
4. Montour 7,739.18
5. Woodland Hills 6,618.73
6. Mt. Lebanon 6,604.43
7. Aliquippa 6,196.01
8. Gateway 6,111.47
9. Mars 5,947.83
10. North Hills 5,868.69
11. Central Catholic 5,705.63
12. Monessen 4,422.66
13. Springdale 4,312.74
14. Rochester 4,235.89
15. Chartiers Valley 4,234.12
16. Greensburg Central Catholic 4,233.36
17. Beaver Falls, 4,190.36
18. Deer Lakes 4,032.48
19. Blackhawk, 4,019.52
20. Beaver 4,001.53