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Tennessee DL Elijah Simmons deemed one of most talented Vols

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For all the very warranted discussion that Tennessee’s defensive line has received this offseason, one player seems to be left out. And he’s about as talented as any of them.

There aren’t many players on the Vols’ roster that have more talent than Elijah Simmons, a 6-foot-2 and 340-pound interior defensive lineman that can wreak havoc on opposing offenses. Here’s one problem. That’s never happened because Simmons has never been healthy enough to be a consistent force for the Vols. Now, Simmons is ready to go.

“I feel great now,” Simmons said. “I feel 100-percent.”

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Simmons is also using 100-percent of his knowledge. As a former offensive lineman in high school, the standout from Pearl-Cohn High School in Memphis knows how to read offensive linemen before the snap. Learning from veteran Cooper Mays can only help.

“He’s a real smart guy so they watch us a lot,” Simmons said. “They read us, how we practice everyday so they pick up on all of the things so you have to change it up quite often. It’s kind of back and forth between us.”

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How does it help to have a history of playing offensive line in high school?

“Knowing a lot of tendencies…just knowing those things gave me a one-up in a sense,” Simmons said.

With Simmons’ ability and knowledge, there are times in which opposing linemen might seem at an incredible disadvantage, especially when Simmons is healthy. That is certainly the case when Simmons figures out some tendencies across the line of scrimmage.

“It’s probably like playing against a kid actually,” Simmons said. “I know what you’re going to do so I just counter it. It’s easy.

Now, if Simmons can just be easy on his body. Mays has long said he sees a star in the making.

“It’s a great thing because coming from him; he’s great player,” Simmons said. “He’s smart. Great guy on and off the field. It’s means a lot coming from him.”

Simmons gained some significant fan notoriety when he dunked a basketball in high school then turned and sank a full-court shot immediately thereafter. Can he still pull off such a feat?

“I definitely still got it,” Simmons said with a smile. “Anytime.”

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