By Pete DiPrimio
BLOOMINGTON -- T.J. Simmons had his day in the Indiana Cream ‘n Crimson football sun.
Camion Patrick never did.
And never will.
The end has come for both players’ Hoosier careers. Injuries were the cause. A medical redshirt was the result. That means Simmons and Patrick will remain on scholarship for their final season, but won’t play.
The announcement came Monday morning.
A knee injury ended Simmons’ hopes for a big finale. He played in 37 straight games to open his career, with 35 starts. He totaled 213 tackles with six sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss. He also forced two fumbles and recovered a fumble.
But a knee injury caused him to miss all of last season. It became apparent that the knee would not allow him to play this season.
“T.J. was a three-year starter and a tough kid that I was looking forward to coaching,” coach Tom Allen said in a university release. “He did everything that he could to get himself back from his knee injury, but he was unable to reach a place where he could consistently play.”
Simmons’ playing days are over, but not in his ability to help the program. He’ll work as a student assistant coach in the weight room and in practice.
“T.J. is excited about his new role,” Allen said. “He will be helping his teammates get better. T.J. has such a passion for the game and this program, and I am thrilled to have him help us breakthrough.”
The “breakthrough” Allen referred to was achieving a winning record, something IU hasn’t done since 2007.
Then there was Patrick, a potential superstar out of junior college who could never stay healthy enough to put substance to the hype.
He arrived at IU in 2015 and for academic reasons couldn’t play, but looked so good in practice that then coach Kevin Wilson consistently praised him. Although he arrived as a receiver, he showed particular promise as a running back.
He tore his ACL during 2016 spring practice, but recovered in time to play last season. He caught six passes for 154 yards (including a 40-yard touchdown). Against then No. 3 Michigan and its nation’s best defense, he rushed four times for 10 yards and a TD.
He hurt his shoulder late in the season and needed off-season surgery.
He wasn’t able to make it back for this season.
“Unfortunately, Camion dealt with multiple injuries during his time at IU and was never able to fully recover,” Allen said. “He has worked hard in the classroom. Camion has battled to get back following each injury, but his body has let him down. He recognizes that. We recognize that, and we want to help him finish strong in the classroom and help him create a bright future for himself.”
Meanwhile, IU All-America linebacker Tegray Scales (pictured above) was one of 10 Big Ten players honored in the league’s preseason list announced as part of this week’s Big Ten football gathering in Chicago.
Scales was one of five East Division players honored. The others were Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett, Ohio State defensive end Tyquan Lewis, Penn State running back Saquan Barkley and Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley.