Baron “B.B.” Flenory remains a legendary figure in high school basketball, in college basketball and to those in western Pennsylvania. Flenory was a Parade All-American as a senior at Valley High School. He was a star player at Duquesne University. He is in the WPIAL Hall of Fame, Pennsylvania Basketball Hall of Fame and is now happy to pass the torch.
Brandon Simmons, Flenory’s grandson, is ranked as the number 12 safety in the country and is one of the top-200 prospects nationally. He is a defensive back at Timberview High School, which is in the Mansfield, Texas, School District. He is only a junior, but has received more than 40 scholarship offers from colleges across the country. Texas, Notre Dame, Ohio State, UCLA, LSU and Harvard are among the schools that have offered scholarships.
Simmons, became Stanford University first commitment of the 2014 class and is the Cardinals first signee from Texas since the 2012 class.
“A friend of mine from Texas Ty Mongomery plays for Stanford, so they were always high on my list,” said Simmons. “I wanted to major in Forensic or Business and Stanford has a great Business School.”
Among numerous qualities about the university, Simmons said the campus and coaching staff put Stanford over the top.
“I heard the campus was beautiful but it surpassed all my expectations,” Simmons said. “Coach (David) Shaw is really laid back and doesn’t lose his calm, but when I told him I was committing he jumped up and hollered.”
For years Flenory’s proudest memories was his 81 point game in junior high. A performance that led to an appearance in Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd.”
“I’m more proud of my grandson than anything that I ever done,” said Flenory. “He is just as strong academically as he is athletically. For him to have scholarship offers from schools like Harvard and Stanford. I couldn’t be more proud.”
Brandon’s father (Kashann Simmons) is a football coach and he virtually grew up with a football in his hand.
Indeed, legend has it that when Brandon was only a few months old, his father placed a football in his crib, thereby setting him on the gridiron path.
Brandon is a straight-A student but he is a lot more than Sir Isaac Newton in shoulder pads and helmet.
Simmons plays like a combination of his two idols: big hitter Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers and ball hawk Ed Reed from the Baltimore Ravens.
As a sophomore he racked up 100 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 interceptions, 1 forced fumble, and 15 passes broken up. He had nearly 100 tackles as a junior.
Simmons is truly a leader focused and determined to be the best he can be.
“I wanted to commit early so that I can focus on my senior year,” said Simmons. “As a team we didn’t do very well last year. This year we return a lot of leaders. We have been working hard this spring and we are determined to have a successful season.”
The U.S. Army High School All-American Bowl has become the “can’t miss” game for football fans across the country and Simmons has already been selected to play in next years’ game. He will be featured in the same defensive backfield as Gateway’s Montae Nicholson.
Did Simmons ever consider playing at the University of Pittsburgh?
“Pitt was on my wish list, but they didn’t show me any love,” said Simmons. “Pitt is a great school and has a tremendous medical program. I’m 110 percent committed to Stanford, but Pitt would have been very high on my list.”
With Steelers safeties Polamalu and Ryan Clark getting long in the tooth, maybe in four years Pittsburgh can show Brandon Simmons “some love” on draft day.
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