Ohio State continued its good fortune with the class of 2009 when Johnny Simon gave the Buckeyes his verbal commitment yesterday. A two-year starter on the defensive line for Mooney, Simon is regarded by many as the top prospect in the class of '09.
Ohio State finally was able to crack the vault at Youngstown Cardinal Mooney High School and land one of the talented players from their roster when Johnny Simon gave his verbal commitment to Jim Heacock, Jim Tressel and the Ohio State Buckeyes yesterday.
“I called Coach Heacock and gave him the news and he was real excited and then he handed the phone over to Coach Tressel and told him the news also,” Simon said. “They were real excited.”
Simon attended a recent bowl practice at Ohio State and it helped him confirm what he was already thinking about the Buckeyes.
“I was thinking Ohio State already and then when I went to the Bowl practice I loved everything there and that’s when I definitely knew where I wanted to go,” Simon said. “So I waited for a little bit and wanted to be sure Ohio State was where I wanted to be and I decided to make the commitment.”
A two-year starter on the defensive line for the Cardinals, Simon is the number one prospect in Ohio according to Ohio High magazine.
“It’s a great honor and I’m just so fortunate to have so many great coaches and play with so many great guys that have put me in that position,” Simon said. “We have the best coaching staff and the guys work so hard at everything all year round and I’m just lucky to be at Cardinal Mooney.”
Simon, a disruptive force on the defensive line, was offered a scholarship last summer after he attended camp at Ohio State.
“I’ve always loved Ohio State and there were a lot of great schools out there but Ohio State was always on top and it’s where I was most comfortable at,” said Simon who was also seriously considering Notre Dame. “I really loved Notre Dame too. It was a tough decision but Ohio State is definitely the place I wanted to be.”
With LB Jordan Whiting (Louisville (Ky.) St. Xavier) and LB/RB Storm Klein (Newark Licking Valley) already committed to the fold in his class, the addition of Simon certainly gives Ohio State the potential of having another stellar recruiting class in 2009.
“We’re off to a great start. There’s going to be a lot of great players in my class going to Ohio State,” Simon said. “There’s a lot of excellent football players out there. I’ll probably talk to a few. I’ve been talking to a few for a while now. I don’t want to become annoying but we’ll definitely try to get some more top recruits to come to Ohio State.”
Although he made it known recently that he wanted to wait until the spring to commit, Simon has actually been anxious to offer his commitment for some time now.
“It was just the fact that I finally realized for 100 percent certain that Ohio State was the place I wanted to go,” said Simon whose sister Brittany is currently a freshman at Ohio State . “So why wait.”
Prodigious strength is just one of his many assets that Simon possesses on the defensive line.
“We’ll be maxing out soon but I’ve already done 425 on the bench last year and I repped out with 225, 38 times and I squatted 700,” Simon said. “I’m going to continue to work on my speed and agility and focus on trying to come off the ball low.”
Simon was injured during the preseason but he was cleared by the doctors in time to play in every game this past season and he got better and better with each passing week.
“I didn’t miss any games. I wanted to be out there with my teammates and coaches from the beginning,” Simon said. “I think it kind of healed a lot faster than it was expected to. I fractured my vertebrae in two parts in the lower lumber region. It was scary but the fact that I would have had to sit out and not be on the field with my teammates was the worst part of it.”
What’s next for Simon?
“I’ve got to keep working hard now as we start preparing for next season. We don’t want that taste in our mouth again,” said Simon referring to the loss to Coldwater in the Division IV state title game this past year. “But before my senior season starts, I’m hoping to go to Ohio State’s camp in the summer and not perform but just meet recruits and talk to the coaches.”
His evening is definitely cleared to watch the National Championship game on Jan. 7.
“I’ll be watching the Ohio State Buckeyes,” Simon said. “They’re a great team and I look forward to being a part of that success in the future.”
Simon just can’t wait to be a Buckeye.
“Words can’t express how excited I am,” Simon said. “I’m looking forward to having a chance to win a national championship at Ohio State but first I’m looking forward to focusing on my senior year and try to win another state title.”
Simon has a 3.7 GPA and is intending to take the next ACT test that is offered.