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Simmons ready to line up and shine for Chicago Bears

Lachavious Simmons is honored to end Dallas County’s 11-year drought in the NFL Draft.

The former Selma High standout was picked by the Chicago Bears in the seventh round of the NFL Draft. Simmons played at Tennessee State University.

Simmons is the first Dallas County native to get picked since Georgia Tech defensive lineman Michael Johnson, formerly of Dallas County High School, was a third-round selection of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2009. Auburn wide receiver Ben Obomanu was a seventh-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks in 2006.

“It’s a dream come true, something I thought about since I was a kid,” Simmons said. “I always looked up to Ben and Michael. They were the reason why I worked so hard to try and reach the NFL.”

The 6-foot-5, 315-pound Simmons said Dallas County played a big role in his development. Simmons grew up in Orrville, but his family later moved to Selma.

“I’m a blue-collar guy who grew up on a farm, throwing hay bales, disciplined,” Simmons said. “ I feel like my hard work can match anybody’s.”

Simmons said Leroy Miles, then Selma High’s football coach, helped him, linebacker ADerick Moore and receiver Ernest Gunn get the opportunity to play collegiately. Moore played at Tennessee Tech, Gunn at Southern Miss.

“Coach Miles used to pick all three of us up for summer workouts,” Simmons said. “We always didn’t want to do it, but Coach Miles said, ‘if you want to be great, you have to do this.’ Coach Miles got our names out there at Selma High.”

Miles, who coached at Selma High from 2008 to 2016, said he isn’t surprised that Simmons has a shot at an NFL career.

“We worked hard to develop Lachavious because of his size,” Miles said. “He had that body, footwork and work ethic. He has great character and comes from a great family background. It was a pleasure to coach him.”

Miles credits Francis Marion basketball coach Woodie Jackson for helping develop Simmons. When Jackson coached Selma High basketball team, Simmons made the squad, gaining agility and footwork. Miles said the TSU coaches praised Simmons’ quickness, thanking the Saints coaches for their roles in the process.

Quincella Simmons, Simmons’ mother, is thrilled that her son has a chance to get rich playing professional football.

“I’m super proud of him,” Quincella Simmons said. “I always thought he’d get drafted because he works so hard. He’s a hard worker and I knew he’d make it.”

Simmons signed with TSU and became a standout in five years.

“Lachavious is the epitome of what we look for in a football player at any position, he trusted the process and put his head down and went to work everyday,” TSU running back coach and recruiting coordinator Kevin Mashack said.

A solid performance in the Hula Bowl helped boost Simmons’ stock, as he went from undrafted free agent to a late-round draft pick.

Simmons said he’s looking forward to help Chicago contend for the NFC Championship and Super Bowl berth.

“I’m excited to go play for the Bears,” Simmons said. “The Chicago Bears’ fans have been showing me a lot of love on social media. I can’t wait to put on a uniform.”