The gameplan for every team is to score more points than the opponent, but figuring out how to do so is the almighty question in football.
For North Charleston (S.C.) Fort Dorchester wide receiver Ra’Quan Simmons, the how was not too difficult to figure out in the Patriots’ 40-6 stomping of James Island on Friday night.
“When we got near the goal line they gave up a lot of man, cover-0, and I think that was the big part of it,” Simmons told Today’s U. “Our running game got going too, so we were hitting on all cylinders today.”
Simmons is included in that statement, as the dynamic slot receiver finished with three receptions, including a long of 31 yards for a touchdown.
Fort Dorchester QB Dekereon Joyner finds a receiver wide open for a 31-yard TD pic.twitter.com/SZ4IhYbtuM
— Eric Rutter (@ERutterTodaysU) September 24, 2016
So far this season, Fort Dorchester is off to a quick 4-1 start, but that is considered typical for a team that rattled off 15 consecutive wins before falling to Dutch Fork in Week 3. With that shortcoming in mind, Simmons sees a lot of positivity from the Patriots, and the team looks to carry its momentum into a deep playoff run.
“It’s been really good actually,” Simmons said. “We are playing really good now. We had a little hiccup at Dutch Fork, but we’ve gotten better and have moved past it. We are playing really good football right now.”
Simmons is a part of the improvement his team has made, as he is a crucial part of the passing game. Under center for Fort Dorchester is four-star junior quarterback Dakereon Joyner, and Simmons gives the highly touted prospect a speedy downfield target that can stretch defenses vertically with his big-play ability.
When asked what he brings to the football field, there was no hesitation in Simmons’ response.
“My quickness and my ability to make people miss in space,” Simmons said. “I think that’s what I’ve showcased the most so far in our first five games: my quickness and ability to beat a defender in space.”
On account of that dynamic skill set, Simmons has received overtures from a couple schools so far. Although he is yet to land his first scholarship offer, the junior recruit is hearing from schools more often, a trend that should continue as he lights defenses up on Friday nights.
“I’ve been hearing from mostly East Carolina and Duke so far,” Simmons said. “Duke invited me to all their home games.”
When analyzing the Duke program, Simmons noted that head coach David Cutcliffe has the program on the upswing in recent years, which has influenced his opinion on the program.
“I really like them,” Simmons said. “They’ve been writing me a bunch of letters, and in one of the letters they invited me to all their home games, said I can get in free and can have three visitors.”
This is one perk that Simmons plans on taking advantage of sooner rather than later, as the junior recruit is looking at visiting the Blue Devils’ campus next weekend, when Duke faces Virginia.
On that visit, several aspects will occupy the majority of Simmons’ attention as he takes in his first gameday experience on the Duke campus.
“The atmosphere and how it feels,” Simmons said. “I want to have fun really, see if the game is loud and if the fans are loud. I just want to have fun, really.”
In terms of his interest from East Carolina, Simmons reports that the Pirates have sent him as many as five letters in the past week in an attempt to persuade the electric receiver to look more into their program, a tactic that the South Carolina Gamecocks invoked last year as well.
“Last year I heard from South Carolina and they wrote me a bunch of letters,” he said.
Last week, Simmons’ teammate, Joyner, visited South Carolina for its 20-15 victory over ECU, a performance that resonated with the rising recruit. Simmons went on to discuss his take on the Pirates’ program.
“I heard it was a real good game, and they beat NC State the week before so they are really on the come up,” he said. “I was looking on Twitter to coach [Shannon] Moore, he seems like a really cool dude and seems really fun. I was looking at the players tweets about him, and he seems like a real likable guy. That was big for me. He seems like a real cool coach, and that’s big for me.”
As far as what system he would like to play in at the collegiate level, Simmons prefers a spread offense that takes advantage of his ability to make defenders miss in space — a quality he figures to show off at length for the remainder of the 2016 season with Joyner throwing him the ball.