Q&A with four-star quarterback commit Simmons

by Mark Wheeler
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Coming up on the one-month anniversary of his commitment to Florida, 2025 four-star quarterback Austin Simmons goes in-depth about his pledge to the Gators, thoughts on reclassifying, and much more.

After your visit back in mid-March, you said you loved everything about Florida. Did that visit set all this in motion? “Oh yeah, it definitely set everything, like you know, as far as my commitment right now. It definitely made me want to go to that school after I left and then I just started talking to my family about it.”

What did you tell them about the visit? “I told them that I’m starting to build this great connection with the coaches, especially with the recruiting people around the program. I just feel like it could be a perfect place for me to call home, ya know. So, I just had these long conversations with my mom and my dad and my family and they just told me just go with it, it’s your decision at the end of the day.”

What was the follow-up visit like? What did you do and what was the highlight? “Oh, the highlight of it was definitely the spring game itself really. I tried to see how everything was going to be run, like on game day. I was there early in the morning. I was looking at the behind-the-scenes of what the quarterbacks do during game day. They have their little meetings and then they get sent to the stadium and they have their little warm-ups. So just seeing the behind-the-scenes of what the quarterbacks do during the game, that was the highlight of my day.”

When did you make the decision to commit to Florida? “April 3, the day before I committed.”

Why Florida? “Just the coaches, Coach [Billy] Napier and Coach [Ryan] O’Hara. They really set a standard for who they recruit and that made me feel like I was a huge priority to their program. They made me feel like I could bring a lot to the program, and I could make a huge impact by coming to Florida. So, that’s what really made me choose Florida.”

When did you inform the UF staff? Who did you speak with and what was their reaction? “So I spoke to Coach O’Hara, Coach Napier, and Coach Larry Williams and they were really excited and pumped up when I told them. Judging by Coach Napier’s reaction, you could tell the man was smiling hard. He was giggling on the phone call a lot. And then I talked to Coach O’Hara and he was just all in with everything, just wants me to get right in and try to join this family at UF.”

Is there any buyer’s remorse at all, any second thoughts? “Oh no, I haven’t. Ever since I committed, I’ve been all in with Florida. I feel like coming to Florida, it’s going to just be my home and I feel like I can develop a lot and prepare myself for the draft and make a name for myself in the CFB.”

What was it like being back in town for the spring game as a commitment rather than a target? Was the feeling different? “Oh, the feeling was definitely different. That was the first time my mom and grandmother went up there, so they wanted to see the school itself and they wanted to talk to the coaches and meet them in person. We took them around the campus and they saw everything, like everything I was going to be surrounded by, as far as my major and stuff. And like it’s gameday in Gainesville, I’m strolling around in a golf cart and everyone on the sidewalk or the road, they already recognized who I was just by sitting in the front seat of a golf cart…So it was like that heartwarming feeling just being back in Gainesville as a commit.”

With a GPA over 5.0, you are obviously the definition of a student-athlete. Having already graduated, will you be reclassifying to the Class of 2024 or remaining in the Class of 2025? “Honestly, I don’t know yet. Because you know, I still have so much time to play football in high school but it’s a great opportunity for me. But as far as right now, I don’t know yet. I’m still talking to my family about that so as of right now, 2025.”

What other factors will play into it? “Just seeing how much Florida wants me as a re-classify but like as of right now it’s just kind of sitting with me as a regular class of 2025 commit… but if things come into play and I could re-class then I’ll just do it.”

Quarterbacks committing early is a big help in recruiting. Do you already have a list of prospects you want to see suited up with you in Orange & Blue? “Honestly, I’m still thinking about that right now. I was actually just on Twitter looking for athletes like definitely Hardley Gilmore, my former teammate at Pahokee, definitely want to see him in that Orange & Blue… he’s like a big fan of Florida, I believe. He went up there at his former school, IMG, and he took a visit up there. He recently got an offer three months ago, but I’d definitely love to team up with him at Florida.”

Of course, being committed doesn’t stop other programs from coming after you. Who came in second for your services? What is your message to coaches who will still recruit you? “The school that came in second was Lousiville. They were one of the schools that really showed me a great amount of love, as soon as I took a visit up there they welcomed me with open arms. They made me feel like I was a top priority while going to that school for a visit. A message to other coaches, I’m a Gator right now. I’m going to tell you right now, I’m a Gator I’m locked in as a Gator. But as far as recruiting, I don’t know yet because I’m still a Gator at the end of the day. I’m always going to be their commit. As far as decommitting or flipping, I don’t see it happening.”

UF already has a borderline five-star quarterback commit in DJ Lagway. Do you two have a relationship already? “Oh yeah, we have a little relationship, a nice little relationship, like I saw him on my second visit up there and we spoke for a good amount of time, really. We started trying to figure each other out, like how we act as a person. He’s a pretty cool dude, probably one of the coolest dudes I’ve ever met. Like the way he plays on the field and the way he acts off the field, he’s a good well-rounded player, definitely. I can see why he’s a five-star.”

You are also a baseball player, And you have been offered to play baseball. Will you play both sports at Florida? “Yeah, I’m playing both sports at Florida.”

When will you return to campus? “I don’t know yet right now. I’m just focused on spring football right now, but I’m trying to get back up there soon.”

What is your go-to walk-up song?Dollaz on my head by Gunna. It’s a pretty chill song and has a nice little vibe, just walking up to the plate, trying to take some swings, and trying to get a hit.”

Pre-game hype song? “Probably Dreams and Nightmares Meek Mill or Statement by G Herbo.”

All-time favorite movie? “I might go with a classic, I might go with Friday, the first one.”

Favorite Tv show? “That’s hard, that’s really hard. It’s probably going to be QB1: Beyond the Lights and Avatar: The Last Airbender.”

Biggest inspiration in the NFL and MLB? “NFL, it’s probably going to be Mike Vick. The way he plays his game, the way he throws the ball, he can make plays on his legs. He’s a playmaker all around the field. Then for MLB, it’s probably going to be a Shohei Ohtani, because he’s a two-way just like me. He hits and he pitches just like me and he performs well in both, something I want to do if I ever want to be an MLB baseball player.”

Last question, Orange or Blue? “Honestly, I look pretty good in that all-orange uniform on my second visit up there, so I’m probably going to pick orange.”

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