COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa—Like much of the world right now, Austin Simmons is home waiting his next move.
The Coyotes’ second-leading passer of all-time in terms of passing yards had been out in Fresno, California, since January, honing his skills and throwing to receivers. He flew back on March 18, just before Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order for all Californians to stay home.
As of this writing, the NFL Draft is still scheduled for April 23-25, and though Simmons doesn’t expect to hear his name called, he knows that training camp invitations and other roster moves will occur shortly thereafter.
That is what drew him to California.
To summarize, Simmons already had his degree in hand before embarking on a senior football season in which he led the Valley in several categories including passing yards (2,953), pass touchdowns (27) and total offense (295 ypg). On Senior Day, he combined for 299 yards and three scores in leading the Coyotes to a 24-21 win against South Dakota State.
After the season, he reached out to Chris Streveler to talk agents, and ultimately signed with Ryan Jansen of Siegen Sports LLC based out of Minnesota. That led to an introduction to Greg Panelli, a former Division I quarterback who grew up in Newman, California, and who now spends time working with quarterbacks in Clovis, California, a suburb of Fresno. Panelli’s students range from elementary-aged kids to college and beyond.
“I wouldn’t have gone out to Fresno if it wasn’t for Jansen having those contacts out there,” said Simmons. “We’d go throw at Fresno State, and the biggest thing for me was having an area to go and whip the ball around while working out with Greg and a variety of other people.”
Simmons started workouts at 10 a.m. most days for six days a week. He stayed with a former Fresno State quarterback and threw to a variety of pass catchers, including Fresno State wide receivers who are now in the NFL. He received speed training from Josh Norman (not the NFL cornerback) and worked with Dave Standifer for strength training. Twice a week, he would have a longer running session. Throwing sessions varied.
“I was working on mechanics, getting used to working under center, those types of things,” said Simmons. “On Saturdays, we’d work on things like the shuttle run and 3-cone L drill. Sunday was an off day. The goal was to fine tune and prepare for pro day, but that’s canceled now.”
Without the pro day, Simmons will let his college football resume speak for itself while Jansen pushes highlights from his workouts in California. Simmons has received phone calls from several teams, but couldn’t share details. Now it is a waiting game while continuing to work out from home.
Simmons closed by talking about his Coyotes. He certainly felt for his teammates who will miss out on a spring season.
“Being around the coaching staff and gaining as much information as you can is helpful, and it will be tough for those guys that they don’t get that opportunity,” said Simmons. “But it comes down to how much they want to do on their own, finding guys to throw with and getting in the gym. The guys who can do that will have the advantage.”