Florida State has been building some momentum on the recruiting trail this summer. Earlier this month, the Seminoles landed one of their top overall targets in the 2023 class in massive offensive tackle Lucas Simmons. The 6-foot-7, 300-pound international prospect announced his commitment to FSU over USC, Tennessee, and Florida.
Simmons will return to Tallahassee for the first time since his pledge this upcoming weekend. He'll join a plethora of fellow commitments and other recruits across a multitude of classes that plan to visit Florida State for an end-of-summer recruiting event.
Ahead of the trip, the native of Sweden sat down with NoleGameday for an in-depth Q&A that covers everything from his commitment to Florida State, transitioning to America, and the early roots of his football career.
Why did you choose to commit to Florida State?
"Just the way it feels like home. They recruited me very early back in Sweden. The things that I've said before and that I still stand by is that throughout all the stars, throughout the rankings, throughout the offers, throughout all the recruiting, they've treated me the same and they haven't changed. They always wanted me for me. I can say that completely honestly because I know that they'll take care of me and want me for more than just the player I am, they want me for the person I am as well. It felt like home for so long so I just had to make sure but I know Florida State is the spot for me."
At what point during your recruitment were you sure that you were ready to be a Seminole?
"I always had it in the back of my head because they were just the most consistent school and the school where I felt the most at home. After the OV, that really helped set them apart because my parents could see it, my sister could see it, my offensive line coach could see it again, the people I care and love for. To have them reassure my thinking and say the exact same things about Florida State I'm saying, that's what really made me go this is probably the right place for me. I didn't commit after the OV. I stepped aside, stepped away from recruiting as much as possible and just thought about it. I still had that same feeling about Florida State for two weeks after the visit. I wanted that feeling to stick with me for a while and it did."
When did you let the coaching staff know and what was their reaction?
"So, I let them know by seeing it on the TV. I didn't tell them. I already knew like four days before I committed that I was going to Florida State no questions asked. Before that, I was kind of playing it off like 'I don't know, I don't know' but I already knew I was going to Florida State. Right when I announced my decision, I saw on the IPad that I was using, it said coach Alex Atkins. He called me the second after I put the hat on. I called Atkins, I called Norvell. Atkins told me to wipe my forehead on live TV, Norvell was super happy. It was great. I called them, I called coach Yray, coach Coop, coach Fertitta, it was great getting to experience that and having them know I'll be a 'Nole as well."
Why are you so comfortable putting your future in the hands of coach Atkins and coach Norvell?
"Atkins and Norvell are both super relatable guys and guys that are just easy to trust. Throughout my recruiting process, I haven't met anybody that I thought was a bad person in recruiting. But it's just with Florida State, Atkins, and Norvell, it's just been there's never been a single doubt that they want me for more than the player I am. When I talk to Atkins, it's 20% football, 80% life. He never had no long presentations and counting numbers and stats. It's more relatable and when we have meetings, it's more personal. On my OV, we looked at my camp film from a year ago. He was cracking little jokes about it and then he said 'look at me' and I looked at Atkins. I could see the intensity and what he was doing to make sure I did good at camp. That was before all of this started in the rankings so I knew seeing that, it's been genuine for more than a year. My mom, she doesn't know much about recruiting but having her at the meeting with Norvell, she spoke out and said 'I heard what Lucas said about Florida State and he's been talking about the same thing now for a year. I just feel like Florida State should be home for him.' Hearing that from my mom meant a lot to me, you know? A bunch of different factors made me feel at home at Florida State."
How often do you plan to be at Florida State during the end of summer and fall?
"A bunch of them. I want to come to as many as possible. Of course, I have to work with my coach being able to come, having other players come with me, and timing. As many games as I can come to, I'll come to."
Will you be visiting other schools this fall?
"Nah, I'm locked in."
Do you plan to recruit other players to join you in Tallahassee?
"Yeah, that's for sure. I want to be able to help as much as possible and make sure that the class that is coming in is as good as possible. The guy I've been talking to the most is Brock [Glenn]. He's a real cool guy. Just talking and chatting it up a little bit."
How excited are you to pair up with Roderick Kearney in the 2023 class?
"Rod is my dog. I really like Rod and I have respect for the dude too. He's put in on the right things, he committed to Florida State for the same reasons that I did. I know that once we're at college, we can feed off each other and push each other. He's a great guy, a great guy to talk to. I'm sure that he'll push me to be better and I'll push him too."
Have you written any goals down or is there anything you want to accomplish during your senior season before getting to Florida State?
"Yeah. I want to be more consistent and I want to know more. The transition from Sweden to America, it's obviously huge but I'm still grasping the smaller things that can really make a huge difference. I want to be as comfortable in my play as possible so I can be more consistent."
Your dad played on the offensive line at Oklahoma so obviously, he has a unique perspective. What kind of advice and words of wisdom did he provide during the recruitment process?
"He was my coach back in Sweden and when things blew up for me in recruiting, it was great having him on my side because he never allowed it to get to my head. He wasn't highly recruited. He went to a D3 and then transferred to OU. But, he still understands people, he understands coaches, he understands how good programs look. Having his feedback and him really allowing me to make my decision, that meant a lot. He never pushed me to go to a certain school but when I asked for advice, he always had great advice to give. It helped make everything a lot clearer for me."
What about your mom, how much did she play into your decision?
"Her three visits were USC, Florida, and Florida State. That was her three and only visits during my recruiting process. Everything was brand new and to pop it off starting in LA, it was mind-boggling. Her first visit ever was an OV in Southern California so of course, that's crazy and a lot to take in. I tried to her that USC was in the PAC-12, Florida is in the SEC, and Florida State is in the ACC. There's no pointing thing because that doesn't really matter to her. She doesn't know the difference between the PAC-12 and ACC but what she does understand is people. After the Florida visit, we went to Clearwater where I lived for two nights and then went to Florida State. When we came to Florida State, from the very first breakfast we had with the coaches and recruits, she understood then that this is different. She told me that too. I think that she read how I was feeling and how the coaches were towards me and everybody else. I appreciate the coaches for really understanding that it's more than just me."
What sports did you play growing up in Sweden? How did that benefit you on the football field?
"I played everything; soccer, floorball, basketball, handball, and martial arts. The things that I think benefited me the most were the soccer part. I was bigger than all of the other kids and also I had a whole lot more movement to do than all of the little guys so I could be up to par. I was young and having fun with my friends but I understood that if I want to move as fast as them, I got to do this. It made me understand my body more and get quicker feet, quicker hands, and kind of just moving faster for a usual guy that's my size without sounding any type of way. Those sports didn't have much contact but you have to move your feet more."
When did you start playing football? How did it all come together?
"I started when I was 11 I think. My dad, just being with him on the weekends. We're at home watching OU, the Red River Rivalry, OU-Nebraska, all of these college games, so I fell in love with college football before the NFL. I didn't play before because when my dad came [to Sweden], playing guard his whole life, they put him at linebacker his first play, no coaching, no nothing. The football back then in Sweden when I was a kid was so behind. He didn't want to risk me getting hurt. My mom started to understand while I was getting bigger that I couldn't have as much fun playing soccer because I couldn't really use my body, she realized something had to change. She took me to a tryout for the football club to see if I would like it. We get in the warmup, I had a bunch of great guys around me that embraced me into the team. After the warmup, I felt like this is what I would do for the rest of my life, no questions asked. My dad was my offensive line coach for four years. He's old school but he taught me the basics, how to have heart, how to not stop. That's basically how it all went down."
What made you decide to go all in on the sport and make the move to the United States to play high school football?
"Up until ninth grade, I was football or nothing basically. I didn't care about academics, I didn't care about anything else but football. In Sweden, to go into high school and to go into different courses, you need to have a certain type of GPA. My GPA was way too low to get into the football school that I wanted to go to. That was a wake-up call and I really took my school seriously. I got into the football academy, I spent two years and they really helped develop me into a better person. Then I heard about Clearwater Academy. First, I was kind of iffy because all of my friends are back in Sweden, football was going great here. Then I started looking into all of the opportunities and what I can learn under the offensive line coach there. I kind of just did a trust fall and went to Clearwater Academy. I don't regret a single thing about it, it's been perfect. It's been hard and all, the curve is crazy for any international guy here. I don't regret a single thing to be honest."
How tough was it being away from your family in a new country?
"I have family in South Carolina and an uncle in Tampa but both my parents live in Sweden. It's tough, not to be able to eat mom's home cooking or spend time with my dad watching TV, do all those things that you miss and love doing. But, they know why I'm here and I know why as well. Having that goal in mind gives me the inspiration to keep pushing. I know that it'll be worth it at the end."
Favorite Swedish food? Can you explain it to the uncultured?
"Mashed potatoes and meatballs with Lingonberry jam and brown sauce. It is the best thing you can get. We have that, we have Toast Skagen, which is a piece of bread with like a shrimp salad dish on it, you've got some dill on there, a little bit of lemon. That's good too. I don't even like seafood like that but it's good. Those are two of the main things."
Favorite “American” food?
"Oh, popeyes, man! Popeyes and Panda Express. We don't have either of those in Sweden. It is good. I went to Popeyes two days ago, it is good."
Do you have a message or anything you want to say to the fans now that you’re Seminole?
"Go 'Noles, Baby! I'm ready to give it my all. That's all I can say, man. I love being a 'Nole, I feel like I made the right decision without no questions in my soul. I'm just excited to finally enroll, get to work, and give my all to the program."
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