Isaiah Simmons, Clemson

Position: LB | Height: 6'4" | Weight: 230



Isaiah Simmons (Sr.), 6-4, 230

Olathe North, Olathe, Kan.

  • 2019: First-team All American, unanimous decision; ACC Defensive Player of the Year; First Team All-ACC; Butkus Award
  • 2018: Nine tackles in national championship win over Alabama

Draft range: Round 1 (top 20)


Only two players have ever come out of Olathe North High School who went on to play in the NFL.

There’s about to be a third, and he may turn out to be the best of the bunch.

Clemson’s do-everything linebacker/safety Isaiah Simmons recently declared for the 2020 NFL draft after his team lost in the national championship game to LSU. Simmons is expected to be a high first-round pick, with many draft analysts predicting he won’t last past the 10th overall pick.

And it’s not hard to see why NFL teams and scouts are so high on the 6-foot-4, 230 pound junior.

Whether he lines up at safety or linebacker at the next level, his athleticism is off the charts. A former track star, Simmons played both ways in high school, earning all-state honors on both offense (as a wide receiver) and defense (as a safety). And the player formerly dubbed “Slimmons” because of his slight build has filled out nicely since his Olathe days, checking in at 6-foot-4, 230 pounds.

Following his stellar high school career, Simmons was thought to be headed to Arkansas.

“I love it here,” Simmons told then-Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, via ESPN. “If you have an offer, I’ll commit today.”

The problem, Simmons told ESPN, is that Arkansas didn’t know how to use him. With the Razorbacks out of the picture, Simmons looked at Nebraska and Michigan before Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables came calling. Venables wanted Simmons for his defense – he didn’t care at what position.

“I saw him in the hallway (at Olathe North),” Venables said in the ESPN feature, “and I just wanted his autograph. He was everything we hoped.”