WJTV – Mississippi State junior defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons is leaving school early. However, in a letter released by the school, Simmons said he will play in the Outback Bowl against Iowa on New Year’s Day.

Here is the letter from Simmons:

Not everyone gets a second chance, but I am so grateful I did. 

Thank you God. 

Thank you to Mississippi State for giving me the opportunity to play SEC football and attend this amazing school. It was a dream I never thought could come true. 

Thank you to Athletic Directors Scott Stricklin and John Cohen and President Keenum for believing in me. 

Thank you to my professors and academic staff for giving me the tools to be successful in the classroom and helping push me to become Academic All-SEC. 

Thank you to the city of Starkville, my hometown of Macon, this community and the many kids who inspire me when I take the field. 

Thank you to my head coaches Joe Moorhead and Dan Mullen for pushing me to be my absolute best. 

Thank you to my assistant coaches, especially “Coach Bake”, for being a mentor and always being there for me. 

Thank you to my teammates for making me better. It was you who saw the passion in me when I couldn’t see it in myself at times. 

Thank you to my family for always trusting me, being supportive and keeping me level headed.  

Thank you to the Mississippi State family for being the greatest fans in college football, for always being there during the ups and downs. 

For the past three years at Mississippi State, I have poured my heart into everything I did on the field, in the classroom and in the community. This place taught me to never give up, and it instilled a desire and a work ethic to reach my ultimate goal. I intend to complete my degree. I have so much passion for this game, and I am ready to take the next step as I declare for the 2019 NFL Draft. 

I have always been a man of my word, and I always finish what I start. Therefore, on New Year’s Day, I will wear the Maroon and White one last time with my brothers and play in the Outback Bowl in Tampa. 

There’s a saying about the Mississippi State family, “wherever you go, we go with you.” I know you will be with me every step of the way, wherever this journey takes me. 

Thank you. Hail State Forever.