Morgantown, West Virginia – TJ Simmons’ senior season has not gone as planned so far for the redshirt senior from Birmingham, Alabama.
Simmons, who has started 15 games for the Mountaineers in his career, was not listed as a starter on West Virginia’s official depth chart for their game this Saturday at Oklahoma State. Instead, Simmons will backup true Freshman Reese Smith at the SLOT position.
Simmons, considered a senior leader, was suspended – along with ten other players – for the Mountaineers’ home opener against Eastern Kentucky for a “violation of team rules.” The widely-accepted reason for the suspension was the consumption of alcohol in the team locker room. Simmons denied this allegation, even though he was seen and photographed on an Instagram Live with an open bottle of alcohol, as well as pouring it in teammates’ cups.
Perhaps freshman Reese Smith, a record-breaking wide receiver from Neal Brown’s hometown in Kentucky, has outplayed Simmons and has earned the starting position. However, typically freshman don’t start over redshirt seniors who are considered team leaders.
Far more likely is that Simmons has done something to find himself in the Neal Brown’s doghouse. Simmons will certainly deny this and bash the media for suggesting it, but the possibility of Smith outperforming Simmons in such an obvious way that Brown would start a freshman over a redshirt senior seems very slim.
Reese Smith has a very bright future with the Mountaineers. However, with the incredible depth that West Virginia has at the wide receiver position, he certainly should not be a starter at this point in his career.
Hopefully TJ Simmons will turn around this difficult start to the season and will finish his career with the Mountaineers in a way that will set him up for future possibilities in the NFL. Simmons has all of the talent in the world, but he has clearly done something to cause Neal Brown to not put him in the starting lineup.