New York High School: Phil Simms

Toal believes Simms can make it in NFL

May, 10, 2012
Don Bosco coach Greg Toal can't forget that strong arm of former quarterback Matt Simms.

"He had the strongest arm by far of any quarterback we've had," Toal said about Simms, who signed with the Jets over the weekend. "No one had the arm of Matt and he was so strong and just a great leader and a heck of a quarterback too. He has the best arm that I've ever seen."

While Simms will have to battle to make the Jets' roster, Toal is hoping that strong arm can help his former star secure a role for himself with a team. Simms is one of five quarterbacks on the Jets roster after he made the team following a tryout during the team's minicamp.

"Matt's worked very hard and has a good opportunity," Toal said. "Hopefully he gets a good shot and I think he's going to impress. I think he's got a lot of skills that can be used in the NFL game. Few guys have as strong an arm as his. He has the ability to be an NFL quarterback."

Simms, son of former Giants quarterback Phil Simms, started for three years at Bosco, leading the Ironmen to a State title in 2006. He played for Louisville, El Camino (Calif.) C.C. and Tennessee. He had his best season in 2010, completing 113-of-195 passes for 1,460 yards and eight touchdowns with the Volunteers.

The quarterback worked out with the Giants before the draft, and after going undrafted, earned an invite to the Jets' minicamp. He earned himself a contract at the camp, although that does not guarantee him a final roster spot with the team. The Jets will carry at least three quarterbacks, and it is not known yet if they will hold four spots.

"He's excited about this opportunity," Toal said. "I'm sure he's going to do the best he can so that he can do real well."

Toal said Simms obviously was well-coached entering high school and the team was able to revolve it's offense around his strong arm. Toal also knows Simms' brother, Chris, and said that Matt reminded him more of Phil in terms of physical build. If Simms can make the Jets' roster, he will join fellow Bosco alum and current Giants defensive end Justin Trattou in New York.

"I've always though if the right team invested in him, he could be a heck of a quarterback in the NFL," Toal said.

New Utrecht QB Paul to Gardner-Webb

February, 7, 2011
While most of New York City’s best high school football players signed their letters of intent Feb. 2, Jordan Paul missed out on the fun. The New Utrecht senior quarterback simply wasn’t ready to sign.

“There were a lot of schools I was considering,” Paul said. “I wasn’t sure what school was best for me.”

At 5:05 p.m. Monday, Paul finally found the school that was the best for him: Gardner-Webb.

After flying to North Carolina Monday morning, Paul signed his letter of intent with the Runnin’ Bulldogs, a Division I-AA school. Paul led the Public Schools Athletic League in passing yards and completions and was second in touchdown passes this season.

“The environment is nice and you could learn a lot of things out here and study and get a good education coming out of this school,” Paul said. “You also have the time to work and practice by yourself and do individual things to get you better. I also like the coaching staff a lot.”

New Utrecht assistant coach Wendell Fevrine, who is Paul’s guardian, said they had set up a visit earlier in the recruiting process with Gardner-Webb, but the school had not yet hired a head coach after firing Steve Patton. The Big South school finally hired Ole Miss assistant Ron Dickerson Jr. on Jan. 26.

The pair flew out of JFK at 6:30 a.m. and arrived around 8:30 a.m. Paul had breakfast with the coaches and players before meeting with all of the coaches individually. He went out to eat with the staff and right after lunch signed with the program.

Paul said Gardner-Webb had always been on the top of his list, but he also had offers from Hampton, Charleston, Marist and Albany. Connecticut and Central Michigan had also showed interest during the recruiting process but didn’t offer.

“The players make me feel like I’m home. They had me talk to the quarterbacks and they’re nice guys and they told me they would be available if I need anything,” Paul said. “The coaches are perfect and the whole school is nice. The whole school gets involved in its games.”

Paul's coaches describe him as a dual-threat quarterback. Paul also led New Utrecht in rushing this season with 668 yards and nine touchdowns, averaging 7.5 yards per carry.

“You could say I’m like [Auburn quarterback] Cam Newton," Paul said. “I throw the ball real well and I could use my feet if I’m in trouble."

New Utrecht head coach Alan Balkan said Paul’s mechanics improved vastly from his junior to senior year and that coaches who saw Paul’s junior highlight tape and his senior highlight tape agreed.

Balkan said Paul went to three or four camps to work on his fundamentals, even spending time with former Giants quarterback Phil Simms to retool his mechanics.

Yet, even with Paul’s good numbers, New Utrecht struggled to a 3-6 record this season. But Balkan didn’t put the blame on his quarterback.

“We did not have a great group of seniors and defensively we were not that good,” Balkan said. “He kept us in every game.”