Anthony Simon is one of the best players from the Tampa, FL area in the Class of 2024.
The 4-foot-9, 98-pound Simon, who attends Dowdell Middle Magnet School, is a powerhouse running back that plays for the Progress Village Panthers, which is a part of TBYFL.
Simon is a selfless player that does everything he can to get as many yards as possible not only when he has the ball but also as a blocker as well.
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“My mindset is to get as many yards as I can when I have the ball and to make my block so that they can run to my side,” Simon said.
Simon doesn’t have any particular football memories that stand out. However, just being able to make plays for his football family is something that gives him great joy.
“My favorite memories are scoring touchdowns and winning games because it just makes me feel good about myself and my team,” Simon said.
Simon’s passion for the game of football has plenty to do with the camaraderie of being on a team to accomplish a goal together.
“What I love the most about playing football is all the dedication and hard work you have to put in to win and the feeling when you do win,” Simon said.
The game of football has helped teach Simon many valuable life lessons. Simon describes the main thing that he’s taken away from his time on the gridiron.
“Football has taught me to never give up and always keep pushing,” Simon said.
Raul Lezcano is in his second season coaching Simon with the Progress Village Panthers. Lezcano explains the best parts of Simon’s game.
Lezcano says what Simon lacks in stature he more than compensates for in heart and determination.
“Everyone calls him “Miller Time”. Anthony plays running back for us. The best part of Anthony’s game is that he is fearless. Anthony is not very tall but you can’t tell him that. And honestly when you watch him play you don’t know that either. He runs the ball extremely tough. He does not care who is on the other side of the ball,” Lezcano said. “I like how he can find yards through some of the smallest holes. Sometimes we sit back as coaches and wonder how he got through the hole when it looked closed to us.”
Simon is a lead by example type of player that is always giving 100 percent effort on each down. Simon is a positive influence for his peers to follow.
“I try to be a good teammates by encouraging other players and always giving my best,” Simon said. “The best advice I give to my teammates is ‘Teamwork makes the dream work.’”
Lezcano points out that the Progress Village Panthers are lucky to have a player that brings the locker room together.
Simon’s willingness to speak up whenever is necessary does wonders for when the coaching staff has a point to make.
“Anthony is a very vocal player,” Lezcano said. “If someone is slacking off he is going to make sure they don’t anymore. He will make sure the team holds themselves to a standard.”
Simon praises his coaches for giving him the self-confidence to believe in himself in all situations.
“I've learned from my coaches not to get frustrated when things don't go as they should and always give my all,” Simon said. “The best advice my coach has given me is that I can do anything I put my mind to.”
Simon is blessed with the ability to chew up all of the tough yards that separates the winners and losers on the scoreboard.
Simon is an essential component to the Progress Village Panthers’ time management approach in crunch time.
“Anthony is a coach’s dream in that he keeps the chains moving,” Lezcano said. “When you want to wear down a defense, take time off the clock, and then top it off with a touchdown then he is your man.”
Simon is also gifted with a high level of football IQ. Simon’s smarts enables him to be in great position to make big-time plays.
“Anthony understands defense fronts very well,” Lezcano said. “He recognizes stunts, knows where the blitz is coming from and knows the weakness of a lot defenses.”
Lezcano is effusive in his praise for the hard work that Simon puts in behind the scenes. Those efforts result in big dividends on game day.
“His work ethic continues to impress the coaching staff,” Lezcano said. “He’s highly competitive and doesn’t like having something beat him.”
Lezcano has a fascinating comparison when he discusses Simon. It’s one of the NFL’s most versatile threats.
“I compare Anthony to a Darren Sproles,” Lezcano said. “Not only is he a good running back but we are able to line Anthony up as a slot receiver like Sproles and have him be an additional threat in the passing game.”
Meanwhile, Simon patterns his style of play after Beast Mode. The Oakland Raiders running back possesses a mentality that Simon shares.
“I look up to Marshawn Lynch because he always make every game his own,” Simon said.
Lezcano outlines the next step in Simon’s game that will push his game to the next level.
“An area we are working on is pressing the hole,” Lezcano said. “Making a linebacker commit to the hole so we can trap him in a block then bursting to another. Footwork drills and repetition will help building these skills.”
Simon is steadfast when he explains his aspirations. Simon refuses to settle for anything other than being elite in every that he does.
“My goal on and off the field is to always do my best,” Simon said.
Lezcano wants the nation to know that Anthony Simon is a name that you need to remember because you’ll see plenty of him in the future.
“Anthony has every potential to play for a major college on Saturdays and has every shot to play on Sundays,” Lezcano said.
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