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After a strong junior season at Calvary Day School in Savannah, 2023 DT Terry Simmons is starting to climb up recruiting boards.

Simmons was one of many potential recruits on hand for Clemson's final home game of the season, a 49-28 blowout win over Wake Forest and the 6-foot-2, 305-pound prospect was quite impressed with what he experienced.

"It was great, loved the atmosphere, loved how engaged the fans were," Simms told All Clemson. "It felt like the whole city was there. My first trip and when I got there everyone was telling me that everything over is there just football."

Brent Venables' defense set the tone early on against the Demon Deacons, with James Skalski recording a sack on Wake's very first offensive snap. Seeing the aggressiveness of the Clemson defense in person really stood out to the defensive tackle.

"When the seniors came out. No. 47 James (Skalski), he was going crazy, first play of the game, I just loved it," Simmons said. "Watching them on TV doesn't give them justice. They play with great effort. Everyone's running to the ball. Everyone's hyped for one another. It just gave me goosebumps in the seats."

With Venables now having moved on to Oklahoma as the new head coach of the Sooners, it would be understandable if any potential recruits started rethinking things. However, Simmons isn't viewing things that way.

"As long as the coaching staff can have the same attitude and mentality I see no effect on my recruitment regarding his leaving," Simmons said.

Simmons has been on the Tigers' radar for weeks now. His high school coach, Robert DeLoach, sent his film to defensive analyst DeAndre McDaniel, starting a relationship that continues to grow with each passing week.


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"(Coach DeLoach) sent my film out, my dream season film to coach DeAndre McDaniel," Simmons said. "Ever since then, we've been chopping it up. He was telling me how he loved my film, showed the defensive line coach (Todd) Bates, and he said he loved my film and they wanted me to get me up there. Then when I got there, they were just they were very nice to me. Great hospitality. Every couple of days me and (coach) McDaniel will be chopping it up since the visit."

Simmons wrapped up his junior season last weekend, registering 11 tackles, three tackles for loss and two quarterback hurries in the season finale. It was a typical night for the defensive lineman as evidenced by his season numbers of 67 tackles, 22 tackles for loss and four sacks. 

To date, he has three offers, from Gardner Webb, Central Michigan and Liberty. However, coming off the strong 2021 campaign, a number of Power-5 schools are starting to show interest. North Carolina, Florida State and Clemson are the schools he's currently hearing from the most, and an offer from the Tigers would mean the world to the interior defensive linemen.

"It would mean a lot to me," Simmons said. "Because that's like one of the biggest schools, if not the biggest school in ACC. And also the competition that they play, which is what I'm big about, just playing competitive. Being able to play against the best and be one of the best. Getting an offer from them would build my confidence because that shows, like that proves to me, and proves to everyone else I know that I can play with the best. That would just give me a big confidence boost."

Currently, Simmons is just taking things as they come. With his recruitment really just starting to heat up, Simmons has no timeline for making a decision. While it's still early on in the process, he does know that whatever school he eventually chooses, it's a decision that will go beyond the football field.

"Really, the coaching staff and then the people I'm surrounded with," Simmons said. "I want to be surrounded with people that want to be successful in life. Not just getting me into the league, that's obviously the goal for a lot of people, wanting to make it to the league."

"I also want to be around successful people and coaches that actually want to build a relationship for you because I feel it's more than football for me. It should be more than football for my teammates. I just want to be around successful people and people that want to push me and be able to be pushed by me too."

Wherever Simmons eventually lands, he is determined to be an impact player. He doesn't want to just leave his mark on the field, he wants to leave a lasting impression on the program as a whole.

"Someone who's going to be able to play nose, three tech, that can be a leader as soon as he steps on campus," Simmons said. "Someone that's going to study hard and wants to know everything. If I'm playing defensive line, I want to know what the DB's are doing. Just one person that's a student of the game. Someone's who's gonna want to chase the ball no matter where it goes. I know I'm not the fastest guy but I am going to give you one given the most effort."