Really good news for me as I opened the Dispatch sports this morning at McDonald's. Although an unbiased fan, I am really excited for Ohio State's John Simon, as he was selected in the fourth round with the 129th pick of the Baltimore Ravens. Disappointed that he did not go higher, but with his injuries this past fall and shoulder surgery and his somewhat limited size, I understand to some extent.
First saw John in a scrimmage his junior year against Beaver Local. At the time, Cardinal Mooney had four solid senior recruits who all eventually signed football scholarships. I think that two went on to Penn State. Really good players, but as I told Coach Jim Tressel at the time, "the best recruit on the team was junior John Simon." And he was. Tough, excellent punch and burst. motor always running, and finished plays. Was concerned about his height, but he had everything else. Plus he played both ways.
His supporting cast was not as good his senior year, and he was "dinged up" some. This caused some of the highly intelligent sports writers to question how good he was. I remember telling him, as we watching an OSU practice, to blot out all of the noise. Now that was no earth shattering comment to him, but it made me feel good.
On to Ohio State University and the rest is history. Ohio State practices were not closed to me his first two years, and I enjoyed watching him practice. Although injuries hampered him this past fall, he had 45 tackles, nine sacks, and 14.5 tackles for loss in 11 games. Having shoulder in February hurt his conditioning for the pre-draft. John claims to be "100 percent," which is good enough for me.
His work ethic and self discipline are well documented. Urban Meyer has alluded to that many times. Character and quiet leadership are "tens." Simon has what some first round Buckeye draft choices in the last ten years may not have had enough of - toughness and a tremendous desire to compete.
Baltimore will find a place for Simon. At 6'2-257, his strengths(as I see them) are pass rushing and versatility. Maybe some DE, DT, or maybe OLB. I have enough to worry about scouting high school players, so I will let Baltimore make those decisions.
Having watched him play football for six years, I have tremendous respect for what he stands for and for his potential at the next level. Some of the sports media questioned his potential his senior year in high school, and some will question his potential to play on Sunday's. But John Simon is John Simon. He represents Ohio State University football. He will do well.