Willie Simmons art

North Texas picked up a commitment from Elgin linebacker Willie Simmons III on Sunday.

Willie Simmons III waited patiently over the last few weeks as a host of college football coaches continued to call and talk to him about offering a scholarship.

The Elgin linebacker didn’t hesitate when North Texas became the first school to follow through with that elusive offer. Simmons announced his commitment to UNT on Sunday.

“North Texas was an easy decision because of the facilities and the coaches,” Simmons said. “I felt the love. There was no doubt in my mind when they gave me an offer.”

Simmons had been talking to the coaches from several schools, including Colorado State, UTEP and UTSA.

Oral commitments are nonbinding. The early signing period begins on Dec. 16.

Simmons attracted the attention of schools in the region this past season when he was a unanimous first-team All-District 13-5A selection.

UNT recruited Simmons, who is 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, to play an outside linebacker spot. The Mean Green are entering their first season under new coordinator Clint Bowen.

“The coaches talked to me about playing on the outside where I can rush the passer or jump off and cover a zone or a tight end,” Simmons said.

Simmons was recruited by UNT linebackers coach Galen Scott and tight ends coach Adrian Mayes. UNT recruiting coordinator Luke Walerius also played a key role.

“Coach Scott said they like my size and speed,” Simmons said. “He said the eyes in the sky don’t lie. They like my film.”

Simmons was set to visit UNT late last month but was unable to make the trip due to the spread of the coronavirus.

“I am going to come up as soon as I get a chance,” he said.

What Simmons saw of what UNT has to offer while studying the school’s facilities online played a big role in his decision to play for the Mean Green.

“Facilities were a big factor,” Simmons said. “I have watched a lot of videos and seen how clean and nice everything is. I can’t wait to go up there. I love looking at the indoor facility.”

UNT opened the Lovelace & McNatt Families Practice Facility before last season.

UNT has loaded up on the defensive side of the ball in the early stages of putting together its 2021 recruiting class. All three of UNT’s commits are defensive players.

UNT previously picked up commitments from two defensive ends: Arlington Pantego Christian’s Jayden Jones and Haslet Eaton’s Jayden Gray.

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.

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