Bonesville: The Authoritative Independent Voice of East Carolina
Daily News & Features from East Carolina, Conference USA and Beyond

Mobile Alpha Roundup Daily Beat Recruiting The Seasons Multimedia Historical Data Pirate Time Machine SportByte™ Weather





Put your ad message in front of 1,000's and 1,000's of Pirate fans. Call 252.637.2944 for flexible options & rates.




Tracking the Stars of the Future

Football Recruiting Report
Monday, July 14, 2008

By Sammy Batten

THUMBNAILS:  2006  •  2007  •  2008  •  2009

Simmons relishes war in the trenches

By Sammy Batten
All rights reserved.

Recruiting Links

BVL: Pirate Football Recruiting Thumbnails
Batten: Simmons relishes war in the trenches
Batten: Prep star Terry evokes déjà vu for coach
Batten: Pirates lure Georgia "bone crusher"
Batten: Lexington LB steeped in football
Batten: ECU's football culture impressed QB
Batten: ECU recruiting effort picks up speed
Batten: Cumberland Co. pipeline still flowing
Batten: '09 recruiting starts with lithe lineman

Other Recent Items

Batten: Simmons relishes war in the trenches
Myatt: Carson: Merritt's merits evident early
Bradsher: The strong get stronger
Batten: Prep star Terry evokes déjà vu for coach
Bailey: Pirates working hard to get ready
O'Brien: Expectations should be tempered by history
Bradsher: A little extra to root for in Beijing Olympics
Myatt: Helping hands go both ways with Leach

Just call him “Old Blood and Guts.’’

No, Hertford County’s Will Simmons isn’t the second coming of General George S. Patton, who earned the nickname for his bold armored advance across France and Germany in 1944 and 1945 that helped win World War II.

But Simmons certainly earned the nickname with an effort that turned heads at the Nike Camp held in Chapel Hill last May.

“On the first play, he butts heads with a defensive lineman,’’ said Hertford County coach Diego Hasty, describing a one-on-one drill involving offensive and defensive linemen at the camp. “He gets a gash over his eye and its bleeding pretty good. But he kept right on going. He slapped a band-aid on it and didn’t miss a beat.

“He got it stitched up after the camp. Will is a mauler.’’

Simmons and his warrior mentality will be heading to Greenville in the fall of 2009. The 6-foot-5 1/2, 305-pound offensive lineman made a verbal commitment to the Pirates and their recruiting Class of ’09 last Thursday, driving to campus from his home in Ahoskie to do so in person.

The Pirates' co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Steve Shankweiler played a major role in landing Simmons.

“He really liked Coach Shankweiler, and their program,’’ Hasty said. “They got on him early and stayed with him.’’

ECU became the first school to offer Simmons a scholarship soon after his performance at the Nike Camp. But plenty of other schools, including Maryland, North Carolina, N.C. State, Penn State and Virginia did show serious interest.

It wasn’t just Simmons’ attitude that recruiters from those schools liked. They also appreciated the discipline he showed in dropping more than 50 pounds since last season.

“Here’s a kid who gets up at 5 in the morning to work out with a personal trainer. He’s been dieting and working out after school,’’ Hasty said. “You just don’t see that anymore.

“I’ve been in coaching over 30 years. He’s probably the hardest and most dedicated big man I’ve coached.’’

Simmons will enter his fourth consecutive year as a starter at Hertford in 2008. He spent his first two seasons playing tackle before Hasty moved him to guard in ’07. Simmons will play there again this year.

“He’s a better guard,’’ Hasty said. “He loves to run block. He can block the defensive tackles or the defensive ends, and he terrorizes linebackers. I think he’d fit well there (guard) in college, too.

“Of course, he still has some things to work on. I’m pretty sure they’ll redshirt him, and that would be best for him so he can get the technique and footwork down. Things are a little more complicated at that level. But I could see him playing a lot after his redshirt freshman season.’’

Simmons is already fully qualified academically and is the eighth player to join ECU’s Class of 2009. He is the first offensive lineman, however, and is only the third offensive player to make a pledge.

Even though the Pirates signed six offensive linemen in February, it’s always a good habit to bring in two or three blockers every year. So the commitment from Simmons shouldn’t be the last one we see for ECU’s offensive line corps.

Send an e-mail message to Sammy Batten.

Dig into Sammy Batten's archives.

07/14/2008 02:08:58 AM


©2001-2002-2003-2004-2005-2006-2007-2008-2009-2010-2011-2012-2013 All rights reserved.
Articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files and other content originated on this site are the proprietary property of
None of the articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files or other content originated on this site may be reproduced without written permission.
This site is not affiliated with East Carolina University. View's Privacy Policy. Advertising contact: 252-349-3280; Editorial contact:; 252-444-1905.