I remember the first time I saw one of the Simon boys play football. The Lincoln High School Abes (WA) have been enjoying the services of the 3 brothers for a few years now. Dionte is the oldest and the 2017 RB/DB was a force to be reckoned with at 5’10”, 190 lbs. His skill set was at the top tier and his speed an obvious separator from the pack. The Abes had one heck of a team that season with Dionte leading the charge. He went on the Simon Fraser and had a nice shot at college ball before moving on all like all athletes do.
His Father Nick and I spoke a few times about what more could have been done to land him a bigger offer but injuries played a role in that situation. During our discussions, he mentioned he had and his wife, LaShont’e, had two more young men coming up through the program who he felt would be able to move on to college so they were learning all they could. Nick listened and is no “Big-Timer” Dad trying to chat up his boys; in fact quite the opposite he never did that. My kind of guy to say the least.
About 16 months ago at offseason camp, I would meet my 2nd Simon in the form of 6’4″- 300 lb. Jayden Simon. I just figured he was probably a stepbrother because of the size difference between him and Dionte. He straightened me out on that one. His Junior year was productive and the big man showed that he could mover both sides of the ball. With a lot of big men out there we needed to see more. Turns out that Simon athletic gene is for real because Jayden can move and proved he can hang with the best big men in the NW.
Now the 2019 D-Line / O-line prospect is sitting on 3 Big Sky offers (Montana State, PSU, Sac. State) and is in touch with several other schools who he feels may be closing in on him. Depending upon which school is recruiting him he has offers for offense and defense and truly could play either in his frame.
We caught up to Jayden to have a chat about how he is preparing for the next level.
“This offseason I have spent time at Ford Sports Performance working with positional coach Damion Turpin and the skills he has been working with me on there have improved my game,” said Jayden. “This season I am going to be showing some new moves and a better skill set.”
In addition, the Abes have access to one of the most complete and well trained High School coaching staffs in the country. Led by Head Coach Masaki Matsumoto the Abes are given a vision for life beyond football and taught to play with purpose and as a family. In a school this talented it is easy to see how players could be recruited to the private schools and football meccas but it does not happen. They stay together and play to win as a family; the way High School football was before the influence of private coaches and boosters.
“Our strength training coach Sergio (Sibrian) is amazing. He has me using my hips, flexing better and is helping me to explode off the line. That is where people and colleges recruiting me are going to see great improvement in me this season,” added Jayden. “I am benching well into the 300’s, am explosive, and plan to end this season as the best possible player I can be.”
Jayden took those skills on the road to California for The Opening regionals where he received accolades against many of the Nations best. He did not receive an official invite the football’s biggest event finals but he walked away knowing he fits the bill. He won enough against the best to boost his confidence.
“I also went to the USC Camp and won the MVP of the camp for linemen which was a huge honor. The competition there was insane and all of the best linemen in California and beyond were there so that was a great result for me!”
The offers he has have allowed him to focus on the season ahead and not worry about college and recruiting. Landing that “first offer” is always so stressful for athletes and now that he has 3 great options he is relaxed and letting his future unfold.
He is hearing a lot from WSU, Boise State Oregon, and says the OSU Beavers are now in touch. He, of course, would love to play Pac 12 football but is open to whatever comes his way.
With Dionte back home in Tacoma Coaching Basketball and pursuing his career and Jayden on his way, the family has another one coming up. When Nick told me about Julien Simon I listened. But I never could have believed that his youngest would as of today be ranked among the top football prospects for the Class of 2021 in the Nation. The youngest son, Julien, is a special breed of athlete we see come along once every decade or so. If you took Dionte and Jayden and averaged out their size you would have Julien; 6’2″ and 220 lbs.
This kid, however, is taking the Simon talent flag and running it to the Top of Mount Ranier and planting it for all to see. As we speak with only his freshmen football season behind him (Film Here) he has been named an All American for 2021 and has offers from Florida, Oregon, USC, Tennessee, and Utah. Wow- the reason for this? We had to ask Jayden.
“He is a freakish athlete with so much skill and potential. We have all know this since he was little, we always knew he was going to special…going to be great. He was bigger, faster, and stronger then any other kids growing up. Now we all are working to make sure he makes it as big as he can,” said Jayden.
How will they keep his head right and keep him motivated? Jayden says having Dionte home will be the key to that as Julien has looked up to Dionte and listened to him since he was little. Add to that Dad, Coach Matsumoto, and the Lincoln staff, and Julien appears to be in great hands. One thing I can state for a fact after all of these years is that to survive being a Super-Recruit like Julien you have to have a great support team and mentors. He has that one done up big-time.
How does big Jayden feel about having his little bro revved up to be a super star running back this year?
“He can’t get into the end zone without me and the boys up front. So I told him we will have him all set up sith some nice big running lanes!”
Julien’s biggest issue? Convincing people he is 15. At the Alabama camp where he put on a #SHOW and some tweets followed, SEC fans from all over began chiming in on Twitter that this “Freak” and “Man Child” was not 15. It almost became comical is had people stirred up so much. Here is what stirred that up.
— Tracy Ford (@TFordFSP) June 23, 2018
Julien has “Yes I am 15 … Don’t Ask” on his Instagram Bio. Great stuff for us NW High School Football fans.
Team-wise the Abes are looking great. There is talent all over the field beyond the Simon brothers.
Jayden laid some of it out:
“I will mention a few guys. Giovanni White is the most under-recruited linemen in the nation. He has offers (EWU and Georgetown) but the big schools need to be on this guy. He is so strong…I do not think people understand the athlete he is. He and I and the whole line are going to be handling things up front. We have two incredible athletes at wide receiver in Mykel Campbell (6’3″) and Romere “Sway” Williams (6’2″-225 lbs) . They are going to be a big problem for people as they are impossible to cover. Throwing the ball to them is Caden Filer – at QB and he can do it all. He has a great arm and is a playmaker. We have talent all over the field.”
Jayden Simon – 2019 – Lincoln Abes
Jayden will plan to study Business in college. He can go far and has grown into an excellent student-athlete and prospect for any college.
What about the Simon home? How are they balancing all this football and recruiting and just life in general?
“Our parents are great. My Mom (LaShont’e) is a teacher and when this all started in youth sports and football she really did not know much about the game. Man now she is like the #1 Fan and supporter. She is the one speaking to us about our decisions and the process. Asking us what we want to do. She for sure keeps us all in line. With her and Dad and the Coaches at Lincoln we are Golden. It is all Family,” concluded Jayden.
After football season Jayden will play hoops where he says he can enforce the hardwood but also has a soft touch and is a great scorer.
Family. Football. Brothers. Teammates. Recruiting. Future.
All are working on all pistons in the Simon household and at Lincoln High. We wish the Abes and all of our NW athletes and Coaches and their families a safe and fun Summer and a terrific 2018 Football season.
Follow leading Prep Football Analyst Dirk Knudsen and his Crew all year long!