Ryan Simmons is thrilled to be back in Stillwater.
The former Oklahoma State linebacker has returned to the site of his glory days in college, this time as a member of the coaching staff.
Simmons, who played for the Cowboys from 2011-2015, traded in the orange jersey for an orange polo and the pads in for a pen as he does a lot of statistical work as a prospect analyst.
“We do the coach’s job for them as far as doing the legwork,” Simmons said. “That gives them an opportunity to focus on football while we just basically take care of the recruiting side. Keeping in touch with guys who are entering their junior years. Watching tape, sending out questionnaires, sending out emails to coaches, getting prospect lists. Making it easier so that when the coaches do go on the road, they can evaluate and check them off and make their decision-making easier.”
While it might seem tedious, Simmons loves it and knows if he ever wants to make it to his dream of being in an NFL front office, he has to start somewhere so why not his alma mater?
Simmons, who finished his career with more than 200 tackles, graduated with a degree in business management with a minor in sports management and marketing. After college, he went back to San Antonio, Texas, where he had grown up and won a state championship for Cibolo Steele High School.
Simmons was the first in a growing pipeline between Oklahoma State and Cibolo Steele. Following him to Stillwater was safety Jordan Sterns and offensive lineman Deionte Noel, and most recently, the Cowboys signed a pair of cornerbacks from Steele in redshirt freshman JayVeon Cardwell and true freshman Xavier Player.
For the past few years, Simmons has been working in the world of mortgages, specifically with DHI Mortgage for D.R. Horton Homes as a loan processor.
“They are a one-stop shop,” Simmons said. “I was doing a loan processing job. I was basically doing the same thing I am now, just getting the information, getting re-approved. All the other information needed for the loan process.”
Simmons, 26, said while he knew it was a good job, he still had an itch to get back into football somehow.
“I was in an office and didn’t really like it, but you know it paid and it was a good job and good learning information and got some vital information for when it comes to me to buy a home, learning how that process goes,” Simmons said.
“I just had an itch to get back around football and have been communicating with coaches and trying to get in the right situation. Just happy to have the opportunity to be back here at my alma mater for my first position back in football.”
Simmons called up former teammate Victor Irokansi, who is also a prospect analyst at the Cowboys after a few years bouncing around as a graduate assistant. Simmons told Irokansi about his dream and asked if there was any way to get in on the ground floor.
“I told him, ‘Hey, if there are any openings, let me know.’ He said that there was a spot open right then,” Simmons said. “I let him know I was available and I got a call a week later from coach (Mike) Groce and he asked me if I was really interested. I said, ‘I’m all in. You tell me what I need to do, I’m all in.’ They hired me on and I am happy to be here.”
While Simmons is on the staff, he doesn’t deal directly with players as he is more into the recruiting side of things. He does see them come around sometimes and gives them advice, though.
“I technically don’t work with them or get involved with it, but I do seem them around the office and I do keep up with them,” Simmons said. “I just tell them to take care of themselves and outside of football, just stay at home and relax. In my own experience, I did try to do a little extra, almost a little too much and it could affect you. I make sure I am a positive impact for them and open ear for them if they need me.”
On the eve of a new season, Simmons will be getting ready for his fourth year not on the football field, but he is happy to know that through his short journey so far, he has learned a lot. The skills he took from being a loan processor have helped him transition right into his role as a prospect analyst and in a few years, he might start taking those next steps to being a general manager.
“I am keeping that open, but I would love to get into scouting,” Simmons said. “I have said it since high school that I have always wanted to be in the front office of an NFL team, whether it be player personnel or GM. Anything, you name it. I want to be in the front office. I will work my way up, whatever route I have to take, whether it is through coaching to get in there, but right now I am happy where I’m at and working to transition into that potentially.”