COLUMBUS, Ohio -- It had been more than five years since a Columbus City League North player from outside Northland had committed to a Division I basketball program.
On Wednesday morning, Beechcroft's Jelani Simmons ended that streak by committing to Youngstown State, a source first confirmed to 270 Hoops.
The rising senior Simmons had a breakout AAU season, impressing coaches all over the region with his scoring ability. At 6-foot-5, Simmons is an intriguing specimen on the wing, as he mixes incredible shooting ability with above-average athleticism at the rim.
Part of a stellar senior class at Beechcroft, Simmons is the third player to commit to a Division I program in 2018, joining Jerome Hunter (Indiana) and Dane Goodwin (Notre Dame). Simmons is the first local player to commit to an in-state Division I program in 2018 as well.
Simmons' commitment to Youngstown State means great things for Beechcroft as well, as the Cougars produce its first Division I commit since Elijah Muhammad in 2006, who went on to play at Tennessee Tech.
Prior to Muhammad, Devin Green (Hampton/2001) and Shaun Fountain (UW-Milwaukee/1996) were the two previous Division I commitments from Beechcroft.
Simmons leads Beechcroft into a 2017-18 season with high expectations for the Cougars. With more than enough talent to win a City League championship, that process will begin with Simmons, who will have his sights set toward the high school season with his recruitment now behind him.