Minnesota Sports

Simmons re-writes Winona State record books

WINONA, Minn. - Meeting Rayon Simmons, you would have no idea how aggressive he is on the gridiron.

"I just keep to myself really. Stay in my room. Do my homework," he said.

Nor how much it means to him to get a college degree.

"Just because I'll be the first generation in my family to graduate, so it means a lot. One of my main goals coming into college was to use football to get a degree."

Simmons grew up in St. Louis.

"I mean, you use sports as an outlet just to stay out of trouble. Use that, and got into a private high school."


After rushing for over 500 yards one game, schools noticed.

"I own every record at my high school, too," Simmons said.

Simmons chose Division One Double A program Northern Iowa.

" They were number one in the country, and they offered me a full ride scholarship"

But it didn't work out.

He believed he was going to be the star running back there," said Winona State head coach Tom Sawyer. "They brought in some other younger kids."

When he decided to transfer, Rayon received a few offers, and was ultimately guided towards Division Two Winona State, a school he says he thought was actually a division one school, and a school that required a little bit of an adjustment.

" Once he came down from UNI, and a division one program, into division two, it took him some time but he started to realize that what if there is no football? I need to also be prepared for the next step, and that's where he started to flip over to being a true student athlete, instead of just a football player hoping to play in the NFL," Sawyer said.

"Immature, obviously I was young," said Simmons. "I feel like I've matured tremendously, I've grown as a person, as a man, and just made the most of my experience".

No one could see Rayon setting this many records. Just as amazing is what he'll accomplish in two weeks.

"He's getting ready for graduation," Sawyer said. "That's something no one really thought he was going to do someday. He was going to play football, all this stuff, maybe go to the pros, but he's now found that's really important to him."

" None of my accomplishments have really set in yet," Simmons said. "I just live in the moment and don't dwell on what I've done because I plan on doing more."

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