Josh Simmons Chose to Transfer to Ohio State Because of the Coaching Staff and Belief He Can Improve “Everywhere”

By Garrick Hodge on May 3, 2023 at 1:35 pm
Josh Simmons
Courtesy photo

Transfer offensive tackle Josh Simmons came into his Ohio State official visit with an open mind.

By the end of the trip, a decision had been made.

The former San Diego State lineman canceled his remaining visits with Florida, Texas A&M and Colorado and committed to Ohio State on Sunday. On his visit, offensive line coach Justin Frye, offensive coordinator Brian Hartline and Ryan Day put on a full-court press for Simmons and the plan worked to perfection.

“It was really a ‘all the boxes got checked’ kind of thing,” Simmons told Eleven Warriors of why he decided to commit early. “You have amazing coaches like coach Frye, you’ll be going against amazing football players every day, and there’s resources. One thing I’ve always been proactive about is my body and stuff like that. It felt like home. So I decided to pull the trigger while I was up there.”

Simmons, who has three years of remaining eligibility, said his deciding factor when navigating the transfer portal was Ohio State’s coaches, as he felt they gave thorough explanations when discussing offensive line play and said he learned “a different perspective on football that I had no idea about.”

“I could only imagine what that could do for my game. I knew this is where I needed to be at,” Simmons said. “Coach Frye taught me a lot about offensive line play, there was just a lot of different tweaks and changes. One thing he said is you really have to snap your hips really hard, and in the run game that’s not what I used to do, I was moreso pushing and running at him. Obviously to most football personnel that’s pretty obvious, but it was something I never knew. I also talked to coach Day and Hartline and they were giving me like life tips about how to become a better person and tackle adversity. It was really something that I was touched by.” 

On his visit, Simmons also had a chance to bond with several of his new teammates and fellow offensive linemen.

“When I got down there, I talked to Donovan Jackson, I talked to Josh Fryar and Enokk Vimahi,” Simmons said. “At the time, the draft was going on, so I was just picking (Fryar)’s brain about the draft and different offensive tackles and what he takes from them in his game. It was great to get a head start on knowing those guys.” 

While Simmons will have a chance to compete for a starting tackle spot this season, he knows he’s not guaranteed anything. He stopped short of setting any defined expectations for himself in his first year outside of improving his craft.

“I know one thing, I will get better,” Simmons said of what he hopes to accomplish this year at OSU. “That’s something you’re going to get going against coach Larry Johnson’s defensive line. Other than that, it’s hard to say.” 

While Ohio State viewed Simmons as the most talented offensive tackle in the transfer portal in the spring window, there are obvious areas of his game he can improve. In 2022, Simmons played started 13 games for San Diego State, playing 799 snaps and earning a 47.1 overall grade from Pro Football Focus. He was a much better pass blocker than a run blocker, as he graded 65.3 in pass protection and 47.7 in run blocking. Simmons is all too aware of the areas he can be better and plans to put in the work to become a finished product.

“Everywhere,” Simmons said of where he’d like to improve the most. “I have a lot of work to do in every facet. Ability-wise, I definitely think God has given me a little extra scoop on my tone, so I just kind of want to do everything the right way.” 

Simmons said he was told by coaches throughout the transfer process that he needs to improve most as a run blocker.

“So I’ll make sure I’ll buckle down on that and attack that really hard,” Simmons said. “Obviously I’ll still attack pass blocking hard because you’re going to be competing against the best pass rushers in the country.” 

While he has room to grow, Simmons is the lone offensive tackle on Ohio State’s roster to have a full season’s worth of experience starting at offensive tackle. It isn’t lost on Simmons that he’ll be surrounded by more talent on offense than he’s ever played with before, and is looking forward to playing alongside Jackson, Marvin Harrison Jr., Emeka Egbuka and OSU’s running backs, among others.

“It’s crazy, it’s something where you know you have a lot of catching up to do,” Simmons said of the expectations of playing in OSU’s high-powered offense. “There’s really big expectations. It’s exciting, but you have to put in the work. That’s something I can’t wait to do when I get down there.” 

Simmons said he plans on moving to Columbus next week and will participate in summer workouts in June. Though it’s several months away, he’s already envisioning what his first game at Ohio Stadium will feel like when it arrives in September. 

“I expect it’ll be really loud with more than 100,000 people there,” Simmons said of what he expects his first game at OSU to be like. “I think the most I’ve played in front of was like 45,000 I think and that was against Utah. So more than doubling that with the most electrifying fanbase in college football, I can only imagine.”

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