EAST LANSING — Michigan State linebacker Antjuan Simmons has announced via Twitter that he will forgo his extra year of eligibility and declare for the 2021 NFL Draft.
“This has been one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make due to the love I have for Michigan State,” Simmons wrote. “Michigan State has taught me so many lessons that have contributed to the growth of me as an individual/human. I’ve also made memories that will stick with me for the rest of my life.”
The leader of the Michigan State defense will not return for his fifth season and join teammates Shakur Brown and Naquan Jones in the NFL draft pool. Simmons led the defense in tackles in 2019 and 2020, and was a captain.
Simmons was one of the best linebackers in the Big Ten this season, earning second team all-Big Ten honors by the media, and third team all-Big Ten by the coaches. Simmons recorded 10 or more tackles in six games this season, tied for the most in the Big Ten.
Simmons was a crucial piece of the transition process for first-year coach Mel Tucker, and was the vocal leader for the Spartans on and off the field. In his senior season, Simmons had 75 tackles and nine tackles for loss in seven games.
MSU will have a big hole to fill next season with Simmons gone. His departure is the second for the MSU linebacking crew on Friday, as Jeslord Boateng announced that he has entered his name into the transfer portal.
Jared Ramsey is a football beat reporter for WDBM Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @jared_ramsey22.