It doesn't seem that long ago that even as the Stanford defense began to gain strength and confidence, the defensive backfield lagged behind as somewhat of an Achille's heal. Thankfully, those days are over. With the success of former Cardinal and current NFL Pro Bowler Richard Sherman, the ascendence of safeties Ed Reynolds and Jordan Richards, and last year's emergence of corner Alex Carter, the top level of the Stanford defense is suddenly an NFL pipeline. The next talent ready to jump in line is Brandon Simmons, a 6'1", 180-pound safety out of Mansfield, Texas.
Simmons comes highly regarded by all major recruiting services as one of the top safeties in America (Rivals, #22; Scout, #15; 247 Sports, #21; ESPN, #14), and all four see him as a four-star prospect. Simmons's offer list reflects that confidence, as he is reported to have turned down scholarship offers from more than 30 different schools, including LSU, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Oklahoma. January is the time of year when Stanford recruits sometimes back off from their commitments after receiving bad news from the admissions office, but that was never a concern with Simmons; one of the offers he turned down was from Harvard, a school which enjoys such a prestigious academic reputation that it is often refered to as the Stanford of the East.
A signing of this type of player would be cause for celebration in any recruiting cycle, but with the recent thinning of Stanford's safety ranks, Simmons is one of the more important members of this particular class. It's almost certain that Simmons will see the field in certain nickel packages, and he'll probably even have the opportunity to compete for a starting position once he arrives on campus in the summer. It won't be long before he's making a huge impact.