STILLWATER — Ryan Simmons’ move into the middle of Oklahoma State’s defense comes with much added responsibility.
After starting at the weakside linebacker spot as a sophomore a year ago, Simmons’ shift inside puts him at the control of OSU’s defense; a defense that’s also in transition all around him, with two new starters flanking him and three more in the secondary.
It’s responsibility earned. And embraced.
“I love middle linebacker. It’s more comfortable for me,” said Simmons, who played inside as a prep star in Cibolo, Texas. “I had to learn a new position, same thing, I had to learn back the Mike this spring.
“I love making the calls. I love being in control. I like knowing that people are depending upon me. I’m going to do whatever it takes to give our defense the best chance.”
Doing whatever includes taking on a leadership role left mostly vacant with the loss of seven senior starters on defense. At linebacker, sophomore Seth Jacobs is new to the lineup, and transfer senior Josh Furman played sparingly as a safety at Michigan, but now finds himself occupying the Cowboys’ “Star” position.
The backups are even more raw, with only freshmen and sophomores ready in reserve.
So all eyes are on Simmons to perform. And to lead.
“We had a few talks after the bowl game last year, about expectations for him,” said defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer. “I had no doubt in my mind that he was going to step up. And he did.”
52 Ryan Simmons— 6-0— 235— Jr.— Cibolo, Texas
Simmons started all 13 games a year ago, tying for fourth on the team with 67 tackles. Making the move from outside to inside this season, putting him in his natural spot. Also one of the team’s top leaders.
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