Five-star recruit Jeffery Simmons has been allowed to enroll at Mississippi State despite an ongoing legal process stemming from misdemeanor charges against a woman, the school announced Thursday.
Simmons, a defensive end and the top recruit in the Bulldogs’ class, will be allowed to take summer classes and participate in football activities “with conditions,” the school said. He is awaiting resolution on his charges that followed a video of him striking a woman multiple times while she was on the ground.
He will be suspended for the first game of the 2016 season and will be required to participate in counseling programs through the university.
“Based on conversations our staff has had with school, community and church leaders in Noxubee County, this incident appears to be uncharacteristic of Jeffery,” MSU director of athletics Scott Stricklin said in a statement. “It’s a highly unique circumstance to administer discipline to a student for an incident that occurred prior to that individual joining our university. However, it’s important that Jeffery and other potential MSU students understand that these type of actions and poor decisions are not acceptable.
“We expect the structure and discipline Jeffery will be a part of in our football program to benefit him. Jeffery will be held accountable for his actions while at MSU, and there will be consequences for any future incidents.”
Simmons apologized shortly after the video surfaced, saying the incident occurred after the woman made a comment about a deceased family member.
“I take full responsibility for my actions that occurred on Thursday evening,” Simmons wrote in a Facebook post in March. “My apology goes out to the Taylor family and especially to Sophia Taylor. What was I thinking? Honestly, I wasn’t thinking, all I could think was this is my family and I am supposed to defend my family.”
Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen had said in the past he wanted to see police reports from the altercation before deciding on Simmons’ status with the team.