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48 Days to Purdue Football: Rob Simmons

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Purdue v Wisconsin Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

We’re now under the 7 week mark, so football season is getting close. Today let’s meet a player poised for a breakout season.

Rob Simmons – Jr.

Philadelphia, PA (Valley Forge Military Academy)

6’6”, 230 pounds

Defensive End

2017 Projection: Contributor at Defensive End

One of the biggest knocks on Darrell Hazell is that he did not develop talent. Keyante Green is a prime example of this. Simmons was another. He was a JuCo transfer that had double-digit sacks at Valley Forge military Academy, but was a virtual ghost last season. Then came the spring game under Jeff Brohm.

Simmons, who plays as a hybrid defensive end/linebacker was an absolute terror. He got into the backfield time and again against the offensive line. He finished with four tackles, and two of them sacks. Here is what the Journal & Courier had to say about his spring:

Simmons did, however, possess pure physical tools. He's continued to flash them throughout the spring while learning the nuance of covering receivers downfield. Simmons has moved up to earn reps with the second unit as Holt and head coach Jeff Brohm try to identify potential playmakers on both sides of the ball.

"He's one of those body types where we need to have a place for him and highlight what he can do," Holt said. "He will show up. He might not do everything right right now, but you notice him out there. He can move, he's sudden, he's long, he takes up a lot of space — and that's important.

Simmons could have a huge year on the outside. There is certainly room for him, especially if Gelen Robinson moves inside.