DION SIMS

Tight End/Offensive Tackle

Michigan State University Spartans

#80

6:04.7-262

Detroit, Michigan

Orchard Lake St. Mary’s High School

 

OVERVIEW

The 2010 season was one that Sims would just as soon forget. Based on his performance since being forced to stay away from the game he loved for an entire year, it was a great case of “lesson learned” for the youngster.

 

Suspended for the 2010 season for his role in a crime ring that stole more than 100 laptops from the Detroit Public Schools, Sims pleaded guilty in September of 2010 to receiving and concealing stolen property. He was sentenced to one year of probation and fifteen hours of community service.

 

Reinstated by the Spartans coaching staff in March of 2011, Sims went on to start fifteen games during his next two seasons. A big, physical blocker, Sims also had to deal with the “battle of the bulge,” but his transformation both on and off the football field has him on the cusp of realizing his dream to one day play in the National Football League.

 

When Sims arrived for 2012 fall camp, he measured in at 288 pounds, imposing, yes, but the considerable bulk had erased his once recognized wide receiver-like quickness. He worked hard to get in better shape, changed his diet and put in the extra hours in the training room.

 

By the time he arrived at the NFL Scouting Combine in late February, 2013, he stepped off the scales weighing 262 pounds. In the agility tests, he impressed the league decision makers further, when he was timed at 4.75 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He also proved that even though he stood close to 6:05, he could “sky” with the best of them at his position, producing a 35-inch vertical jump and a 9’4” broad jump. He also had one of the better performances in the weight room, putting up the 225-pound bench press 22 times.

 

His valid leaping ability is on display when he operates on fade routes, as the former basketball player times his jumps to consistently get to the ball at its high point. He has the massive, yet soft hands to absorb the ball into his body and while he still needs to show better crispness and refine his route running skills, he is a physical runner who is very difficult to bring down in space vs. isolated defenders.

 

With the troubles off the field a distant memory, teams are seeing in Sims a player with the size and long reach to be an inviting “safety valve” target for a quarterback when working in a crowd and over the middle of the field. He is surprisingly agile for his size, doing a nice job of shielding the ball from defenders with his body after the catch. While he lacks good hip flexibility to suddenly redirect and escape contact, he uses his power to drive through arm tackles while fighting for extra yardage.

 

As a blocker, Sims has good field vision and anticipation skills. He is quick to retreat when protecting the pocket from edge rushers and shuffles his feet properly to maintain position when on the move pulling for the ground game. Because of his tall frame, there are times where his pad level gets too high, leaving his chest exposed for defenders to attack, but on the move, he uses that long wing span of his to stalk and neutralize second level opponents.

 

 

At Orchard Lake St. Mary’s High School, the Michigan native excelled in both football and basketball. Despite playing in just two games during his final gridiron season, due to a knee injury suffered in the season opener, Sims earned All-American honors from Tom Lemming’s Prep Football Report, Super Prep and Prep Star, as that recruiting service rated him 54th among the nation’s overall top 100 prospects.

 

Rivals.com regarded Sims as the fifth-best tight end in the nation and he was rated the tenth-best overall player in the Midwest by the Detroit Free Press. The Detroit News rated him the state’s second-best player, while the Detroit Free Press placed him fifth and Rivals.com had him eighth.

 

In the two games that he appeared in during the 2008 season, Sims had four catches for 86 yards (21.5 ypc) and one touchdown. As a junior, he earned first-team All-state, All-Area and All-Oakland County honors in 2007. He was also named first-team All-North as a line-backer by The Detroit News, in addition to garnering second-team all-metro on defense.

 

Sims led the Eaglets in receptions as a junior with 29 for 604 yards (20.8 ypc) and three touchdowns, as eleven of his grabs were for distances of 20 yards or better in 2007. He also recorded 40 tackles, with seven resulting in losses, including 2.5 sacks.

 

In basketball, Sims was named to the Associated Press Class A All-State first-team after averaging 21.9 points and 9.4 rebounds as a senior. He also received second-team All-State recognition from the Detroit Free Press in 2008-09. Additionally, he finished fourth in the voting for the Hal Schram Mr. Basketball Award.

 

In his first season at Michigan State in 2009, Sims earned Big Ten Conference All-Freshman team honors. He started eleven of the thirteen games that he appeared in, but was used mostly as a blocker. In limited opportunities with the passing game, he caught eleven balls for 133 yards (12.09 ypc), turning three of those catches into touchdowns.

 

Returning to the team after his year-long suspension, Sims wanted to prove he belonged among his position’s elite players, but a broken bone in his hand limited him to just three starting assignments while appearing in fourteen games in 2011. He managed to grab twelve tosses for 99 yards (8.25 ypc), again capitalizing on those limited receptions to record three touchdowns.

 

Once in the coaches’ doghouse, Sims showed renewed dedication to the game of football throughout the 2012 off-season. His performances throughout spring and fall camps were immediately noticed by the staff and praise for their starting tight end would soon follow.

“He’s got a phenomenal ceiling,” Michigan State offensive coordinator Dan Roushar told Hondo Carpenter on Spartan Nation Radio.

 

“I’ve had a number of guys – (strength coach) Ken Mannie’s staff and trainers that have come up and said Dion is a different person right now. The way he’s working, his maturity is starting the show. I think his desire, his urgency has increased, and we’re very excited for him.”

 

With Sims’ legal troubles in the past and 2011 starting tight end Brian Linthicum having completed his eligibility, the coaches were looking for the fourth-year junior to have a banner 2012 campaign. “A lot of adversity, a lot of setbacks,” Sims said during fall practice in August, 2012. “But I think it’s time to just forget about everything that’s made me stronger and just come out ready to go.”

 

At the end of fall camp, Rousher again noted what is needed for his tight end to take his game to the next level. “He has to stay healthy,” the coach stated. “He has to play to his ability, but the things that we saw in the spring – although he was casted up until the spring game – we saw a lot improvement. And then there’s still a long ways for him yet to go. He could be as talented as a tight end as I’ve been around, and we’ve had some really good ones. I am so very excited about his potential. That’s his job, my job, our job to have him reach that.”

 

Sims was living up to those expectations through the first five games of the 2012 season, catching 24 passes for 313 yards (13.04 ypc) and two touchdowns at that point. But, in the first quarter of the Indiana clash, he suffered a severely sprained left ankle, missing the rest of that contest and the following week vs. Iowa. He would have to wear a boot to speed up the healing process for several weeks.

 

It was not until five weeks after he first suffered his injury that Sims returned to form, recording his second career 100-yard performance vs. Northwestern (five catches for 102 yards). He would go on to finish third on the team with a career-best 36 receptions for 475 yards (13.19 ypc) and two touchdowns while starting nine of the twelve contests he appeared in.

 

“Despite missing nearly three full games, Dion Sims still earned second-team All-Big Ten Conference honors, so that says something about his production,” Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio said. “He’s a big target with great hands. With his combination of size and power, Dion is difficult to bring down, so gains a lot of yards after the catch. He’s also a much improved run-blocker.”

 

Shortly after the Spartans pulled out a 17-16 victory over Texas Christian in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Sims announced that he was bypassing his senior season to enter the 2013 NFL Draft pool. Michigan State knew that its victory over the Horned Frogs was the final game for a handful of seniors, but there was just as much concern if it was the final game for few juniors, as well. In a quick “tweet,” Sims said, “I want to thank Spartan Nation for four of the best years of my life! I’ll always bleed green & white!!!”

 

In an interview with the media at the NFL Scouting Combine, held in late February in Indianapolis, Sims stated that he believes he’s the best blocking tight end in the NFL Draft. And the best catching tight end in the NFL Draft. And, yes, he believes he’s the best overall tight end in the NFL Draft. It’s understandable, then, why Sims elected to forgo his senior season at Michigan State even if it upset Spartans coach Mark Dantonio.

 

“Coach D was pretty upset about it,” Sims said at the NFL Scouting Combine. “We talked about it, and he just told me just to make the best decision for me, which I did. He wants me to stay another year. He feels like I can contribute more to the team next year.”

 

Sims acknowledged “there was more for me to do” at Michigan State, but said he left so he could take care of his new-born daughter, Onestee (pronounced like “Honesty” with a silent H). She was born two-and-a-half months ago at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing. “She means everything to me,” Sims said. “Best thing ever to happen to me. She played an important role in me coming out, and I just feel like I’m ready for the next level.”

 

“I’m the best blocking tight end, I’m the best receiving tight end, I’m the best all-around tight end,” Sims said. “It’s just all stats, you know? Those guys got a lot of stats out there, and they get the ball 17, 18 times a game. We’ll see though, we’ll see what happens.”

 

 

 

Sims’ numbers aren’t on par with most elite tight ends, finishing last season with 36 catches for 475 yards and two touchdowns while also missing time due to an ankle injury.

But, he played in a Michigan State offense that struggled to score points — finishing 110th in the country in scoring — and lacked punch through the air. He also said he thought he could have been a bigger part of the offense, and that defenses were able to key on him because of the youth at wide receiver position.

 

Sims knew he had “something to prove” during his week at the combine if he is to enter that top group of tight ends. “I just have to prove I can be a down-the-field threat, down-the-middle target, and when we do position drills, I have to catch the ball and show a little bit of (athleticism),” he said.

 

Sims had been training in Boca Raton, Florida, and is in some of the best shape of his life. He measured 6-foot-4 7/8 and 262 pounds at the combine, 23 pounds lighter than his listed weight last season at Michigan State. “I’m lighter on my feet, that’s for sure,” he said.  “We’ll see what happens. But I’m predicting good numbers.” After going through all the agility tests, Sims can now rightfully claim that he has the “tools” to match up vs. the more well-known tight ends in the 2013 draft class.

 

CAREER NOTES

Sims started 12-of-39 games at Michigan State, where he caught 59 passes for 707 yards (11.98 ypc) and two touchdowns…Carried once for a 2-yard loss and recovered an on-side kick for minus seven yards…Added three tackles (2 solos).

 

2012 SEASON

An All-American fourth-team midseason choice by Phil Steele, Sims had a banner first half of the season before a left ankle sprain would sideline him for two full games and a good portion of three others…Still managed to receive second-team All-Big Ten Conference accolades from the league’s coaches and media, along with being named first-team by College Football News…Prior to his injury in the first quarter of MSU’s sixth game, vs. Indiana, Sims had 24 receptions for 313 yards (13.04 ypc) and two touchdowns, but would close out the season ranked third on the team with a career-high 36 catches for 475 yards (13.19 ypc)…29 of his 36 receptions (80.56%) went for either a first down or a touchdown, as the recipient of the team’s Up Front Award (outstanding offensive lineman) posted a pair of 100-yard receiving performances…Opened the season with seven receptions for 65 yards vs. Boise State, adding 48 yards on three grabs that included a 20-yard touchdown vs. Central Michigan…Recorded his first career 100-yard receiving game with six catches for 112 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown vs. Eastern Michigan, as he was named the John Mackey Award and College Football Performance Awards National Tight End of the Week…Sims missed nearly three entire games with an ankle injury after he left the Indiana clash in the first quarter and did not return. He did not play vs. Iowa and saw limited action at Michigan, Wisconsin (two catches for 22 yards) and Nebraska (one for ten yards) before registering his second 100-yard receiving performance with 102 yards on five catches vs. Northwestern, including a career-long 44-yard reception…Closed out his career with three catches for 24 yards vs. Texas Christian in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, including his 14-yard reception from Connor Cook on MSU’s final scoring drive that helped set up Dan Conroy’s 47-yard game-winning field goal in a 17-16 decision.

 

2011 SEASON

Sims saw action in all fourteen games, earning three starting assignments, but was limited as a pass catcher during the season’s second half  due to a broken bone in his hand…He would still tie for third on the team with three touchdown receptions, but ranked sixth on the squad with just twelve catches for 99 yards (8.25 ypc)…Made the most of his limited receiving opportunities, converting nine of his twelve catches into first downs…Had two catches for 12 yards vs. Wisconsin and recorded two catches for 15 yards vs. Central Michigan, including a 3-yard touchdown on a pass from Andrew Maxwell…Added three catches for 38 yards, including a 6-yard touchdown at Notre Dame…Hauled in a season-high four receptions for 27 yards vs. Florida Atlantic, including a one-yard scoring grab on a toss from Kirk Cousins.

 

2010 SEASON

Sims did not play, as he was suspended from the program due to his involvement in a laptop theft ring…Was reinstated to the team in March, 2011.

 

2009 SEASON

Sims was named to the Big Ten Conference All-Freshman team by The Sporting News and Rivals.com, as he appeared in all thirteen games at tight end as a true freshman, earning eleven starting assignments…Had eleven receptions for 133 yards (12.09 ypc) and three touchdowns…Caught two passes, including a 7-yard score from Keith Nichol, vs. Western Michigan and added an 11-yard touchdown grab in the back, right corner of the end zone at Minnesota as time expired in the third quarter…Posted season highs with three catches for 59 yards at Wisconsin, including a 35-yard catch in the third quarter…Had a 26-yard touchdown among his two catches for 32 yards vs. Montana State, as he played a season-high 30 snaps vs. the Bobcats.

 

OFF-FIELD ISSUES

Sims has battled legal issues and injury in his time at Michigan State — his personal problems his own making, a broken wrist just plain bad luck. Sims missed the 2010 football season, suspended for the year after stealing laptops from the Detroit Public Schools. In September, 2010, Sims pleaded guilty to charges stemming from his arrest after being involved in a computer theft ring. Sims, along with others, were stealing computers and laptops from Detroit public schools to sell them. The charges Sims faced were considered a five-year felony, but thanks to his cooperation and lack of a criminal record, his conviction could be expunged from the record. “He did not buy the computers or sell them,” said Sims’ lawyer, Steve Fishman. “He pled guilty to being the middleman.”

The deal called for Sims to cooperate with investigators and give “truthful testimony” vs. others charged in the scheme that allegedly took and resold more than $158,000 worth of computers intended for use by students in the troubled district.

“This isn’t because he’s an athlete,” Fishman said about the plea deal. “Anybody in his situation, with his age, his clean record and the cooperation he has already given the prosecution is entitled to get this break.”

 

INJURY REPORT

2008 Season…Sims suffered a knee injury in the season opener of his high school senior season, missing seven contests before returning at the end of the schedule.

2011 Season…Sims was limited by an assortment of injuries throughout the year, but a broken bone in his hand (thumb region), along with wrist, lower back and neck problems would see him go through a seven-game stretch without catching a pass.

2012 Season…A left ankle sprain in the first quarter vs. Indiana would force him to miss the rest of the contest, along with the next week’s game vs. Iowa. He returned vs. Michigan, but played sparingly the next three contests.

 

AGILITY TESTS

4.75 in the 40-yard dash…1.64 10-yard dash…2.68 20-yard dash…4.52 20-yard shuttle…

12.10 60-yard shuttle…7.36 three-cone drill…35-inch vertical jump…9’4” broad jump… Bench pressed 225 pounds 22 times…33 1/8-inch arm length…10 ½-inch hands…77 7/8-inch wingspan.

 

HIGH SCHOOL

Sims attended St. Mary’s (Orchard Lake, Mich.) Catholic High School, playing football for head coach George Porritt…Despite playing in just two games during his final gridiron season, due to a knee injury suffered in the season opener, Sims earned All-American honors from Tom Lemming’s Prep Football Report, Super Prep and Prep Star, as that recruiting service rated him 54th among the nation’s overall top 100 prospects…Rivals.com regarded Sims as the fifth-best tight end in the nation and he was rated the tenth-best overall player in the Midwest by the Detroit Free Press…The Detroit News rated him the state’s second-best player, while the Detroit Free Press placed him fifth and Rivals.com had him eighth…In the two games that he appeared in during the 2008 season, Sims had four catches for 86 yards (21.5 ypc) and one touchdown…As a junior, he earned first-team All-state, All-Area and All-Oakland County honors in 2007…Was also named first-team All-North as a linebacker by The Detroit News, in addition to garnering second-team all-metro on defense…Led the Eaglets in receptions as a junior with 29 for 604 yards (20.8 ypc) and three touchdowns, as eleven of his grabs were for distances of 20 yards or better in 2007, as he also recorded 40 tackles, with seven resulting in losses, including 2.5 sacks…In basketball, Sims was named to the Associated Press Class A All-State first-team after averaging 21.9 points and 9.4 rebounds as a senior…Also received second-team All-State recognition from the Detroit Free Press in 2008-09…Additionally, he finished fourth in the voting for the Hal Schram Mr. Basketball Award.

 

PERSONAL

Sociology major…Son of Classie Massey and Donald Sims…Born 2/18/91…Resides in Detroit, Michigan.

 

PLAYER STATISTICS

RECEIVING STATISTICS…R/PG indicates receptions per game…GM/AVG indicates average yards gained per game.
STATS GP GS NO YARDS AVG TD LONG R/PG GM/AVG
2009 13 00  11     133 12.09  03    35  0.85      10.23
2011 14 03  12     099 08.25  03    21  0.86      07.07
2012 12 09  36     475 13.19  02    44  3.00      39.58
TOTAL 39 12  59     707 11.98  08    44  1.51      18.13

 

RUSHING STATISTICS DEFENSIVE STATISTICS
STATS NO YARDS AVG TD LONG TK SO AS FR FC
2009  01       -02 -2.00  00    00  00  00  00  00  00
2011  00        00  0.00  00    00  02  01  01  00  00
2012  00        00  0.00  00    00  01  01  00  00  00
TOTAL  01       -02 -2.00  00    00  03  02  01  00  00

ADDITIONAL STATISTICS…Recovered an onside kick fumbled return for a 7-yard loss vs. Nebraska in 2012.

 

SIMS GAME BY GAME LOG

2012 Season

Date

Opponent

Score

Played

Receiving

Kickoff
Ret.

Pts

Tackles

No

Yds

TD

No

Yds

TD

TTL
TDs

Ast

Solo

Asst
Loss

Solo
Loss

Loss
Yds

Boise St. 08/31/12 Boise St. 17-13

Yes

7

65

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

Central Mich. 09/08/12 at Central Mich. 41-7

Yes

3

48

1

0

0

0

1

6

0

0

0

0

0

Notre Dame 09/15/12 Notre Dame 3-20

Yes

6

52

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Eastern Mich. 09/22/12 Eastern Mich. 23-7

Yes

6

112

1

0

0

0

1

6

0

0

0

0

0

Ohio St. 09/29/12 Ohio St. 16-17

Yes

2

36

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Indiana 10/06/12 at Indiana 31-27

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Iowa 10/13/12 Iowa 16-19

No

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Michigan 10/20/12 at Michigan 10-12

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Wisconsin 10/27/12 at Wisconsin 16-13

Yes

2

22

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Nebraska 11/03/12 Nebraska 24-28

Yes

1

10

0

0

-7

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Northwestern 11/17/12 Northwestern 20-23

Yes

5

102

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Minnesota 11/24/12 at Minnesota 26-10

Yes

1

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

TCU 12/29/12 TCU 17-16

Yes

3

24

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Season Totals

36

475

2

0

-7

0

2

12

0

1

0

0

0

 

2011 Season

Date

Opponent

Score

Played

Receiving

Pts

Tackles

No

Yds

TD

TTL
TDs

Ast

Solo

Asst
Loss

Solo
Loss

Loss
Yds

Youngstown St. 09/02/11 Youngstown St. 28-6

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Fla. Atlantic 09/10/11 Fla. Atlantic 44-0

Yes

4

27

1

1

6

0

0

0

0

0

Notre Dame 09/17/11 at Notre Dame 13-31

Yes

3

38

1

1

6

0

0

0

0

0

Central Mich. 09/24/11 Central Mich. 45-7

Yes

2

15

1

1

6

1

0

0

0

0

Ohio St. 10/01/11 at Ohio St. 10-7

Yes

1

7

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

Michigan 10/15/11 Michigan 28-14

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Wisconsin 10/22/11 Wisconsin 37-31

Yes

2

12

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Nebraska 10/29/11 at Nebraska 3-24

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Minnesota 11/05/11 Minnesota 31-24

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Iowa 11/12/11 at Iowa 37-21

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Indiana 11/19/11 Indiana 55-3

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Northwestern 11/26/11 at Northwestern 31-17

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Wisconsin 12/03/11 Wisconsin 39-42

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Georgia 01/02/12 at Georgia 33-30

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Season Totals

12

99

3

3

18

1

1

0

0

0

 

2009 Season

Date

Opponent

Score

Played

Rushing

Receiving

Pts

Rushes

Gain

Loss

Net

TDs

No

Yds

TD

TTL
TDs

Montana St. 09/05/09 Montana St. 44-3

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

2

32

1

1

6

Central Mich. 09/12/09 Central Mich. 27-29

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

1

7

0

0

0

Notre Dame 09/19/09 at Notre Dame 30-33

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

1

5

0

0

0

Wisconsin 09/26/09 at Wisconsin 30-38

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

3

59

0

0

0

Michigan 10/03/09 Michigan 26-20

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Illinois 10/10/09 at Illinois 24-14

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Northwestern 10/17/09 Northwestern 24-14

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Iowa 10/24/09 Iowa 13-15

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Minnesota 10/31/09 at Minnesota 34-42

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

1

11

1

1

6

Western Mich. 11/07/09 Western Mich. 49-14

Yes

1

0

2

-2

0

2

14

1

1

6

Purdue 11/14/09 at Purdue 40-37

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Penn St. 11/21/09 Penn St. 14-42

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

1

5

0

0

0

Texas Tech 01/02/10 at Texas Tech 31-41

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Season Totals

1

0

2

-2

0

11

133

3

3

18

 

Data provided by Dave-Te Thomas, Publisher of The NFL Draft Reports for TonySoftli.com; Tony Softli Draft Board