Mississippi State University football recruit Jeffery Simmons faces misdemeanor charges of simple assault and disturbing the peace after a cell phone video surfaced of him allegedly punching a woman during a street fight outside an apartment complex.
Simmons, 18, is a senior at Noxubee County High School in Macon, Mississippi, the city where the altercation allegedly occurred on Thursday evening. He was arrested today.
The highly touted defensive lineman committed to Mississippi State on National Signing day on February 3. He was apparently also recruited by Alabama, Auburn, Louisville, Ole Miss, and Tennessee.
"Simmons, the top-rated signee in Mississippi State's 2016 signing class, is accused of striking a woman several times on Thursday evening at Mayfair Apartments in Macon, according to Macon Police Chief Lucious Mason. The incident occurred around 6:30 p.m., Mason said," the Clarion Ledger reported.Four other individuals were also charged in the incident which reportedly grew out of a dispute between two families. "Ellen Hairston of Macon, Mississippi, told ESPN.com that her 30-year-old daughter, Sophia Taylor, suffered head and neck injuries after she was allegedly struck by Simmons and others multiple times during an incident Thursday," ESPN explained.
No court date has been set as yet.
"We're charging everyone who was fighting. They'll all be served with a citation and they'll all go in front of a judge," the police chief said.As per the ESPN account, the victim was attempting to leave the apartment complex with her 9-year-old daughter who had been allegedly arguing with Simmons' 10-year old sister when, according to Hairston, another Simmons sister "pulled Taylor out of her car and struck her several times, and that after Taylor was pushed to the ground, Simmons struck her several times with his fists. At the end of the video, another woman is shown striking and kicking Taylor." That assailant may have been Jeffery Simmons' mother, ESPN claimed, based on what Hairston indicated.
Commenting on the melee, a Mississippi State spokesperson said, "We are aware of the situation. As more details become available, we will continue to evaluate the situation."
On Saturday, Jeffery Simmons apologized on Facebook, although the message has apparently been since deleted. In seeking forgiveness, Simmons wrote in part the following.
"Where do I start? Where do I begin? Wow! Decisions, choices, and actions should always be carefully thought through when incidents occur. I take full responsibility for my actions that occurred on Thursday evening. My apology goes out to the Taylor Family and especially to Sophia Taylor. What was I thinking? Honestly, I wasn't thinking, all I could think was this is my family and I am supposed to defend my family...I truly hope that you will find it in your hearts to forgive me for my actions...""Simmons was the only five-star member of the Bulldogs' 2016 recruiting class, rated as the No. 1 player at any position in the state of Mississippi and the No. 15 player overall by Rivals.com," NBC Sports explained. According to Scout, Jeffery Simmons was the No. 10 college football prospect in America irrespective of position on the field.
"Simmons, a 6-foot-4, 272-pound defensive lineman, helped Noxubee County High win its second-consecutive Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 4A state title in December," The Dispatch noted.
Jeffery Simmons is scheduled to enroll in Mississippi State this summer.
This video purports to be another view of the same incident.[Photo by Rogelio V. Solis/AP]