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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

February 5, 2011 at 5:48 PM

Spotlight on Antavius Sims

Since the commitment of Antavius Sims didn’t come until about 10 minutes to the announcement of his signing Wednesday, I didn’t have time to write much about him. So I’ll do that now, having talked with his coach at Ventura (Calif.) College, Steve Mooshagian, for a while the other day.

First, to answer the main question I’ve gotten about Sims, who could play both cornerback and quarterback for UW — has he really run a 4.3 40 as reported on a few of the recruiting sites?

Close, Mooshagian said. “The only time we ran him, he had a 4.41,” Mooshagian said. “He has very good football speed. He plays fast on the field.”

Mooshagian said that time of Sims’ “was on a pro watch” and that the only player he has personally timed faster was Chad Johnson (or Ochocinco) — Mooshagian was WR coach for the Bengals from 1999-2002. “So he’s definitely fast,” Mosshagian said.

Now to answer the second most-common quesiton I’ve gotten — given UW’s historic issues getting JC transfers eligible, will Sims qualify?

Mooshagian says that Sims should make it. Academic issues were the main reason he ended up at a JC after prepping at Americus-Sumter High in Americus, Ga. “He’s not a bad student,” Mooshagian said. “It was just being short a core class and the sliding scale.” (And since he was not a qualifier out of high school, he has to get a degree from Ventura to get to UW).

But Mooshagian says a plan has been worked out that should get Sims eligible.

Among the top items on that plan? “We’re not letting him take any P.E.,” he said — that’s something that has often prevented JC players from getting into UW.

“It’s going to take him a little work,” Mooshagian said. “But we’ve got a plan sitting there for him. He knows this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I don’t think it will be an issue at all.”

Sims will have three years to play two once he arrives at UW, having never redshirted at Ventura.

After not being eligible out of high school, Sims sought out various JC opportunities and landed at Ventura, where a couple of other players from his high school are also playing. He is also a member of the basketball team at Ventura, long a California JC power (though in something that may actually help Sims, the team is on probation this year and its season will be over in a couple weeks, so he’ll soon be able to concentrate solely on academics).

Mooshagian can’t speak highly enough of Sims’ overall abilities on a court or field, however.

“I think he’s the best athlete in junior college, and I beg to differ with anyone who would say otherwise,” he said. “I’ve been around a little bit, seen guys that are in the NFL, been an NFL assistant and a college coordinator, and I think he’s just an unbelivable athlete.”

UW plans to start Sims at corner (he essentially replaced Kameron Jackson, who ended up signing with Cal, in this class). But he played QB at Ventura the last two years, setting school records for single-season and career total offense, throwing for 13 TDs last year and rushing for 15, running an offense that had some elements of both the zone read and the traditional passing spread offenses.

But UW coach Steve Sarkisian said Sims will also get some looks at QB, and even if his main position were corner that he could get some spot use as a quarterback.

“I don’t exactly know where his best position will be,” Mooshagian said. “I had to play him at quarterback but I got a chance to watch him play defensive back all summer, so I know he has those abilities and skills to play it. He has the toughness and physical nature (and at 6-2, 200, good size). He has very good hands. He could probably be a receiver and a returner, and he was on our hands’ team.”
As Mooshagian refers to there, Sims practiced at cornerback all spring and summer before returning to QB when the team needed him there, instead.

An obvious question, then, us why was Sims headed to UTEP before getting a last-minute offer to UW?

Mooshagian says frankly that “some of it had to do with academics. Part of it is people were scared off to wait for him. Had he been a mid-year guy (meaning eligible to enroll in January), everybody would have been on him. But it’s not like there wasn’t anybody on him. Ole Miss was on him as a quarterback, Rutgers wanted him bad.”

Mooshagian says other schools weren’t sure exactly what they would want to do with Sims, such as Cal, which he said was interested in him as a defensive back.

Sims, meanwhile, always was hoping for an offer from UW. Sarkisian made a visit to Ventura in September — the first coach to meet with him — and Mooshagian said that made an impression.

While UW waited to make an offer, UTEP made one that Sims conditionally accepted. “He was pretty honest with them,” Mooshagian said. “He told them the only school he would decommit for is Washington if they came back.”

As Times columnist Jerry Brewer detailed, Sarkisian and Mooshagian have long ties (as do Mooshagian and WR coach Jimmie Dougherty).

Mooshagian said Sims was fine with going to UTEP if UW didn’t come through, so that was kind of the extent of the recruitment at the end, waiting to see if something would come from the Huskies.

“I think he just kind of knew where he wanted to go,” Mosshagian said. “I told him ‘you just have to be prepared — you may get a call the night before.’ Sure enough, it turned out.”

Mooshagian calls Sims “a football gym rat,” saying he was happy to do whatever was asked of him at Ventura.

So now comes the issue of what exactly UW will ask him to do once he arrives in the fall.

“They are getting a great athete and then they’ve got to see what is best for their football team,” Mooshagian said.

Here is some video of Sims:

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