Mississippi State's Jeffery Simmons pleads no contest to simple assault charge

Dr. Saturday
Noxubee County’s Jeffery Simmons scores with a 17-yard touchdown pass against St. Stanislaus in the first half of their Mississippi 4A Championship high school football game on Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014, in Starkville, Miss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Noxubee County’s Jeffery Simmons scores with a 17-yard touchdown pass against St. Stanislaus in the first half of their Mississippi 4A Championship high school football game on Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014, in Starkville, Miss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

The assault case involving Mississippi State freshman Jeffery Simmons has come to a close.

According to The Clarion-Ledger, Simmons was found guilty of malicious intent Tuesday and also pleaded no contest to a charge of simple assault. A charge of disturbing the peace against Simmons was dismissed. The five-star defensive lineman will pay $711 for medical bills, $475 for the assault and intent charges and $175 for damage to the victim’s car.

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The charges stemmed from a March 24 incident in which Simmons was caught on camera punching a woman several times while she was on the ground. Mississippi State allowed Simmons, a prized recruit, to enroll at the school and drew criticism for only suspending Simmons for one game. In its statement announcing the suspension, which includes university-issued counseling, the school said Simmons punched “used physical force” in “an effort to break up a domestic fight between his sister and another adult woman.”

“Five seconds of action that’s a really poor choice shouldn’t preclude that young person from having the opportunity to go to the university and compete,” MSU AD Scott Stricklin told reporters the day the decision was announced. “Once you make that decision the next thing is, besides the counseling, should there be other consequences? And we ranged from ‘You know what, he wasn’t a student of ours yet, we’ve never disciplined someone before they were one of our students. Should we do that?’ To long-term game suspensions — I wasn’t comfortable doing that because he wasn’t a student.”

Bulldogs coach Dan Mullen said he wasn’t involved much in deciding the length of the suspension.

“I wasn’t involved as much,” Mullen said at SEC Media Days. “It was a university decision, but I was just thrilled that we’re having Jeffery as part of our family coming in.”

Mullen was asked what his level of responsibility would be if Simmons were to commit a crime while enrolled as a student.

“We’re all responsible,” Mullen said. “If that happens, all of us, to be honest with you, I’m responsible for all of the actions for every one of my players. I’m responsible as a head coach. I can’t be with them all of the time. All I can do is be a parent. My wife and I try to be parents to every one of the kids in our program. Not an individual. Just every single one of them. We try to be parents. And I take a great deal of responsibility of all of our players and actions that they do, good and bad.”

Simmons, the top-rated recruit from the state of Mississippi, will miss MSU’s season-opener against South Alabama.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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