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Top 2023 OT Lucas Simmons details recruitment ahead of final four official visits

One of Florida State's prized targets breaks down his interest in the Seminoles and looks toward his upcoming official visits.

In his own words, 2023 offensive tackle Lucas Simmons didn't expect to find himself in this position on the cusp of his senior season.

Growing up in Sweden, Simmons was flying well under the radar until last summer. Over the past year, he's developed into a national recruit, rising up the rankings to settle in as one of the top offensive tackles in the country. 

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With a crucial summer approaching where Simmons will take his final four official visits leading up to his eventual college commitment, he's looking back on the crazy experience and taking it all in.

"It's a blessing. When I was back in Sweden, I didn't expect this to happen to me at all," Simmons said to NoleGameday's Dustin Lewis. "Of course, I believed in myself and of course, I know that people in Europe have the talent we just don't get the looks of kids that are in regular high schools. That's one of the reasons I came here [America]. I was in a great academy back in Sweden where they really took care of me and molded me into the person I am right now. It's just so hard to get looks from Europe." 

"If someone told me that you're going to have 37, 38 offers and you're going to decide basically between every school in the nation, if someone told me that a year or two years ago, I'd just look at them like they're crazy," Simmons continued. "It's just absolutely insane, it's something I really appreciate and it gets confusing at times. It's a crazy experience."

Florida State has been in hot pursuit of Simmons ever since the Seminoles became one of the first schools to extend him a scholarship in May 2021. He's made multiple visits to Tallahassee this year, including earlier this month prior to beginning his slate of official visits.

"It was really, really good. Every time I go there it kind of feels like I'm going to see people I like, seeing the beautiful campus, it doesn't really feel like a typical visit," Simmons said. "It kind of just feels like I can go out there and spend time with people I like in a place I really like as well. It was a really good visit. I was able to bring up two offensive line coaches and their families. It was good to see how they [FSU] understand this recruiting thing is more than just me. It's about everybody that I love and care for as well that have a part in me and my recruitment."

It was important for Simmons to make it back to campus as he says he wants to visit Florida State as many times as possible. Though it was a last-minute decision, he's glad he went through with it.

"I just love campus and I love the people there. I booked the visit like Wednesday or Thursday so it happened really fast," Simmons said. "I was just really happy I was able to get back out there. I want to see it as many times as possible and since it's relatively close, it's something that is doable. It kind of popped up and I was just excited to come and see it again since it felts like it's been a long time."

While the Sweden native has gotten the opportunity to check out the school during his past visits, the experience was new to his offensive line coaches and their families, who accompanied him on the trip. During the tour, they stopped by the new locker room.

"We saw the new locker room of course," Simmons said. "The visit was new for my offensive line coaches and their families so we went on the campus tour. I just kind of got to see it again and it was completely new for most of them. Then there was a lot of conversations with the people there, especially with coach Atkins."

A highlight of the unofficial visit was sitting down with offensive line coach Alex Atkins in person again. Simmons gushed on the consistency that Atkins has shown throughout his recruitment along with how genuine he is. The relationship is one of the main reasons the Seminoles are in this race.

"Man, I love that guy. He's just real, you know? Every time I talk to him, he's real. It doesn't feel like you have to sit there and be like 'yes sir, no sir' with him. It doesn't feel like a real, sit-down recruiting talk," Simmons said. "It meant a lot for him to involve the people I care for too. Like, it was something else completely new for him. My offensive line coach brought his young son and daughter and that was their visit first ever. Atkins is so nice about it, he just wants everyone to enjoy it. It's really, real."

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"He's been consistent since the start. He offered me when I was on the train back in Sweden going to see my mom, and all of a sudden I've got a Florida State offer. He's been so consistent throughout," Simmons continued. "I wasn't even close to the player I am now when I was back in Sweden this past summer but he still had faith in me and still saw what some people didn't. It meant a lot, man, it meant a lot. He won't boost you just to make you happy, he's going to give it to you straight and that's what I want. I feel like if Florida State's the place I go to, I know what I'll get from the coaches, I know what I'll get from the atmosphere, it all feels really real."

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Along with Atkins, the Clearwater Academy International product had a productive meeting with head coach Mike Norvell. He enjoyed that Norvell and the other coaches made it a point to incorporate the group he brought with him into the visit.

"Every time I talk to him it's a great time. He's also like Atkins, he's real. Every time I talk to Norvell, it's just a great conversation," Simmons said. "It was great seeing him and seeing him interact with my O-line coaches' families. My recruiting process is more than me and they all understand that. They try to involve everybody, try to make it fun for the coaches, try to make my o-line coach feel comfortable, and try to make them understand what they want from me if I were to play there."

It isn't just the coaching staff that is pursuing Simmons to sign with Florida State. Quarterback commitment and #Tribe23 bell cow, Chris Parson, has been communicating with him. Simmons recognizes the effort that Parson is putting in to improve a program that he's not even officially a part of yet.

"I like him, man. I met him in person once and I talk a little bit to him on Instagram. He's a really good guy, of course," Simmons said. "I see him on social media and I see that he puts in work to make Florida State better. That's something that's big, that he's committed to a school and that he wants to make the school better before he's even there. That's something I really respect."

Simmons took an official visit to Oklahoma State in April and he'll take his final four OVs starting this weekend. He's set to see Tennessee (May 27-29), USC (June 17-19), Florida (June 20-22), and Florida State (June 24-26) prior to the beginning of July. Following the Seminoles' effort in his recruitment over the past year, Simmons felt like they earned the right to have his last visit.

"That's a school that I decided would be the last of my OVs because of the faith that Atkins, Norvell, and the rest of their staff have had in me and the connection that I've built with them. I felt that they deserved the last impression, they deserved to have the closer as you would say," Simmons said. "I'm really excited for my parents to be able to see what I'm seeing, not just Florida State but all of the schools. I haven't been able to bring my parents to all of the OVs because they're in another country. Being able to bring them to the remaining four, it means a lot. I'll be excited to see what they think as well."

Once Simmons completes his official visits, he plans to set aside some time to sit down and think about what's best for him. As of now, he has the goal to announce a commitment by July or August. 

"The plan after all of the OVs is to kind of step aside and think for myself," Simmons said. "Hopefully, I get that done end of July, beginning of August but if I still don't feel comfortable by that time, I'm not stressing it. I think I'll be able to make a decision in the July, August period."

The 6-foot-7, 300-pound offensive tackle will enroll at his school of choice in January. It's a priority for Simmons to get on campus as soon as possible because Sweden starts school one year later than the United States.

Stick with NoleGameday for more coverage of Simmons and his decision throughout the summer.

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