New OSU offensive tackle Josh Simmons focused on improvement, not on starting

Bill Rabinowitz
The Columbus Dispatch

The right tackle position that Josh Simmons played last year for San Diego State remains unsettled for Ohio State.

Neither Zen Michalski nor Tegra Tshabola did enough to win the job this spring.

But Simmons did not transfer to Ohio State because he sought a starting job with the Buckeyes right away. He said he left his college and hometown because he wanted to challenge himself to be the best player he could be.

Sep 24, 2022; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego State Aztecs offensive lineman Josh Simmons (77) looks on before the game against the Toledo Rockets at Snapdragon Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

“I’m a huge competitor,” said Simmons, who announced his commitment to Ohio State on Sunday. “I really want to go against the best. (Defensive line) coach Larry (Johnson’s) D-line is second to none in the country. They have J.T.T. (J.T. Tuimoloau), Jack Sawyer, all those guys the tackles go against on the outside. You talk about sharpening your iron, they’ve got it.

“It really was just about how can I be proactive about maximizing my potential, and all directions pointed toward transferring.”

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The 6-foot-6, 305-pound Simmons committed to Ohio State after his official visit. He has three years of eligibility remaining.

Simmons said he, offensive line coach Justin Frye and head coach Ryan Day did not even discuss the pecking order on the offensive line and where Simmons might fit in it.

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“We really didn’t converse about that,” Simmons said.

He said they discussed Ohio State’s culture and tradition and the expectations that come with being a Buckeye.

“When you play somebody, it’s not just any game,” Simmons said. “You’re getting that person’s and that other team’s best game because a lot of people, especially the team up north, do not like the Ohio State University. You really have to be ready to empty the tank day in and day out.”

Simmons’ 2022 season with San Diego State was a mixed bag. He started all 13 games last year but led all offensive tackles nationally with 17 penalties. Simmons said most of them were false starts.

“That was just being a bonehead and not locking in,” he said. “I’m very much a work in progress now.”

Simmons considers his athleticism and footwork to be strengths, and he believes he uses his hands well.

“I potentially feel I could be a great all-around player, but I’ve got to put in the work to make it a reality,” he said.

He said he already started the process in his film session with Frye, who recruited him for a time while the coach was at UCLA.

“Having coach Frye and (grad assistant) coach (Mike) Sollenne with me, I don’t think it will take me a long time,” Simmons said.

He returns to Columbus for good on Monday, which he hopes will give him a jump start for the fall.

Simmons said he watched Ohio State’s spring game and was impressed by Michalski and Tshabola.

“They’re both amazing players,” he said. “I’m going to be all about competing. Obviously, I’m not going to focus too much on another player. I’m just going to focus on me and try to be the best me I can be. My plate’s already full as it is.”

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