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2025 3-Star OL Ace Simonson Showcased His Skillset at Pitt Camp

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Pitt offensive line target Ace Simonson.

If there’s a school that’s given “under-sized” recruits a place to thrive, it’s Pitt — especially on the defensive side of the ball. Ace Simonson isn’t a defensive recruit, but he’s not letting his size hold him back.

Simonson — a 6-foot-2, 270-pound three-star offensive lineman from Forest Hills Eastern in Ada, Mich. — made the six-hour trip south to Pittsburgh over the weekend in order to camp with the Panthers. And it ended up being a very worthwhile experience.

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“The camp was great,” Simonson told Pittsburgh Sports Now. “It was super helpful. It was great to get such great coaching from some legendary coaches. The competition was probably the best I’ve ever played against. It was nice to see some NFL legends, see some dudes that kind of showed off that Pitt really was a legit school.”

The invite from Pat Narduzzi led to a stellar showing from Simonson — and some great conversations.

Simonson spent time with Narduzzi, Jeremy Darveau and Tim Daoust. But it was a conversation with Daoust that stood out. As the camp experience wound down, Simonson talked ball with the Pitt defensive line coach.

“And going back to that talk with coach D, we talked about my recruitment and we talked about what that looks like” Simonson said. “And he said he loved my speed. He loved the way I played. He said I had the right mentality to play there. He just said the only thing he wasn’t set on was my length.

“And that’s kind of been the tone throughout my recruitment. It’s that they’ve got to see a little bit more from me, hoping I grow another few inches. I have a solid foundation there, it’s just the physicals that I’ve got to up. And so that’s definitely been a big piece throughout my recruiting. I gotta prove these coaches wrong, you know, I want to get these chances.”

Pitt is looking at Simonson as an interior offensive lineman. He worked well against the opposing defensive linemen, some of the best talent he’s gone up against in his camp appearances, but he was able to showcase his pass and run blocking.

It got a bit rowdy at times, which is what you want out of a high-stakes appearance like the Pitt Rising Stars camp, and Simonson certainly appreciated it.

“I think I showed them despite my lack of height, it’s not that big of an issue,” Simonson said. “I can still cover up dudes. I still have the length to move. I have a good enough wingspan to catch guys and I’m just fast enough off my feet to where I can compete with even the fastest dudes out there. And so, although a lot of coaches might see my height as an issue, I can still play.”

Simonson isn’t “short,” at 6-foot-2. But he isn’t an ideal height on the offensive line either. But if there’s anything he learned over the weekend, it’s that he just has to go up against the best of the best and show he can handle it — more than handle it.

“I gotta show them that I can go against the best of the best and win,” Simonson said. “I gotta show them I have the best fundamentals than anyone there, like when it comes to coaching pieces, I need to be told something once and I’m going to go out and do it. It’s just the little things that will add up to kind of push me there. They can’t teach me height, but they can see that I’m a hard worker. I soak up knowledge. I’m not going to make the same mistake twice.”

Simonson only holds one offer at this point in his recruiting process — Ferris State. But he’s an athletic interior lineman who knows what he has to do to make it work at the next level.

Rivals hasn’t ranked Simonson yet, but he has been awarded a 5.5 Rivals Rating. 247Sports and On3 haven’t ranked him yet, but that will likely change over the next few months.

He’s still looking for his first Division I offer, and it would mean a lot to pick up an offer from Pitt — or any other Division I program for that matter.

“It means the world to me because as a kid who’s been playing football since sixth grade, that’s just a lifelong dream,” Simonson said. “Like, go play football at a prestigious Division I college. Like, you’re playing at a school that you watched growing up. I had some of my core football memories watching Aaron Donald tear it up in his time there.

“And it’s not even just Pitt, it’s any school, it’s like getting that final piece of recognition, like the ultimate piece of recognition in your football career to get that offer to go play, get paid to go play the sport you love, I think that just means a lot to me.”

Pitt holds six commitments in the class of 2025, four-star cornerback Elijah Dotson (Detroit, Mich.), offensive lineman Shep Turk (Jefferson Hills, Pa.), three-star wide receiver Tony Kinsler (Port Orange, Fla.), three-star wide receiver Bryce Yates (Chesterfield, Va.), three-star defensive lineman Trevor Sommers (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and three-star quarterback Mason Heintschel (Oregon, Ohio).

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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BigB
BigB
7 days ago

Looks like a player!!!! Sign him up Duzz!

On Campus Stadium Please
On Campus Stadium Please
7 days ago

Duzz, no finger point here? How about the Patt signal? Ferris State is gonna be tough to beat here.

Tim
Tim
7 days ago

I just read a story about a hard working kid with goals. A kid that has dreamed of playing division 1 football. I’ll acknowledge that kid. He won’t let his shortcomings stop him. Great young man it seems. Hard working and determined.
Then along comes campus stadium guy with his predictable shtick. Meh….

On Campus Stadium Please
On Campus Stadium Please
7 days ago
Reply to  Tim

thanks for the reply. He maybe could play D1, but you want to dismiss that he’s not a Power 4 kid?

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