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ERIC SONDHEIMER / ON HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL

Crespi lineman Jordan Simmons motivated to be even mightier

Encino Crespi senior Jordan Simmons, sought-after college prospect, starts his senior year at Crespi with big plans – for this season and the future.

August 26, 2011|Eric Sondheimer

Offensive linemen are the goliaths of the football field. Some are so big that if they walked into a smorgasbord restaurant, their mere presence would send the manager into panic mode.

Encino Crespi senior Jordan Simmons has been working on getting quicker and stronger this summer, whittling his size a bit (at 325, he's aiming for an even 300 pounds). Linebackers who are set to run into Simmons this fall might wish he'd spend more time at the buffet line, because a faster but still mighty Simmons means big problems.

"He's a terrific athlete and moves his feet well," Crespi Coach Jon Mack said.

Simmons, at 6 feet 5, with coordination, maneuverability and growing strength, is an offensive lineman with a bright future. And that potential to be a blocker in college and beyond is what motivates Simmons to take the extra steps to keep getting better.

He transferred from Los Angeles Dorsey last year at his parents' insistence, a move that presented sizable challenges: making new friends, adjusting to new demands and opening his mind to new thinking.

"I still have a lot of friends there," Simmons said of Dorsey. "They still matter to this day, but my parents did what was best for me."

Going into his senior year, he's considered a much-sought-after college prospect, with more than 30 big-time schools offering scholarships.

"What's important is my family and my friends and the ones who care to help me get to the next level," he said. "I'm always willing to work hard if somebody wants to work with me. I'm willing to work because a lot of people don't get this opportunity."

This season is a good year for offensive linemen. Besides Simmons, Kyle Murphy from San Clemente, Max Tuerk from Santa Margarita, Colby Cyburt from Mission Viejo and Travis Averill from Anaheim Servite are considered in the mix for recognition as top lineman in Southern California.

It's a constant learning process for linemen, trying to pick up blocking fundamentals through repetition and practice. Once the games begin, it's something of a final exam after long preparation, a test of whether progress has been made. Big linemen have to be quick enough to handle smaller defensive ends. That's when mobility, coordination and footwork come into play.

Going up against Simmons will be a challenge for anybody. He's expected to be better than a season ago.

"I want to be more aggressive," he said. "That's what the coaching staff has been talking about — be a leader on the field. Last year, I was new to Crespi and was following the seniors. This year, I'm used to the system. It's time for me to step up and take leadership."

In the spring, when Simmons was waking up at 5 a.m. for weightlifting sessions, he'd show up looking tired, with an occasional yawn. He knows those early-morning practices were the beginning of a process that he hopes pays off in the long run.

Now Simmons will see if he can fulfill his and the team's goal, as he noted this spring: "We're trying to be great so we can roll over people when the season starts."

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

twitter.com/LATSondheimer

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