Oklahoma football: DB Gary Simon a product of Mike Stoops' return to Norman

After watching Florida native Gary Simon play basketball, Sooner defensive coordinator Mike Stoops called him the high school version of Vince Carter.
by Stephanie Kuzydym Published: August 22, 2012

“I've been coaching for 17 years, and Gary's the best, the most talented kid I've coached in basketball. He's one of those kids that it doesn't take a whole lot of practice for him to keep his skill level up, which I'd never seen that in basketball. He's the first kid that I have ever coached that wasn't a gym rat and just stayed on top of his game.”

On his football talent: “He makes top plays on the football field with ease. He's a kid that didn't play any Little League football. He started playing football in the ninth grade. He just happened to be good at it.”

YUSUF SHAKIR, former head coach at Gibbs High School on Simon's growth:

“He's a very athletic kid. On JV, he played quarterback, kicker, punter and free safety. When we moved him onto varsity, he played defensive back. He was always very talented.”

On Simon as a player: “Phenomenal job. I put it like this — I think Oklahoma got a star and one of the best players in the state of Florida. I've coached lots of kids that went onto the NFL that are DBs, and he ranks at the top of the category.”

Mike Stoops, OU's defensive coordinator on Simon's progress:

“Gary's played awfully well. He's very athletic, he's very long and he's very explosive. Understanding the urgency, for a young player, becomes a very important element that Gary needs to be able to process. This is not high school, and getting high school players out of that mode can be somewhat frustrating. We have got to get Gary to understand there is a speed this game has to be played at, a sense of urgency; when he gets that, he can be a very effective player for us.”

His coaches said Simon will have no problem fitting in at Oklahoma. He's even going to try and give both football and basketball a chance. Regardless, if he's an NFL kid or an NBA kid, he's a youngster the Sooner Nation should keep its eyes on.

by Stephanie Kuzydym
Stephanie Kuzydym learned at a young age that life is a game of inches. That's just one reason why she loves football. Kuzydym joined The Oklahoman in July 2012. Before arriving in the state, Kuzydym was an intern for the sports departments at...
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