ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — During Isaac Yiadom's career at Boston College, Broncos safety Justin Simmons was held up as the standard for the rest of the group.
Among the Eagles' defensive backs, Simmons served as the example for what each player in the B.C. locker room could achieve.
And after years of striving to be like the third-year NFL player, Yiadom now finds himself in a familiar situation: in the same locker room as his collegiate role model.
"In our [Boston College] locker room, Justin is really highly praised and honored," Yiadom said during his introductory press conference with the Broncos. "We hear about it all the time if we do something bad at practice because Justin set such a high standard that we have to hold up. We always say that Justin set the bar up here for us, and after that it was John Johnson with the Rams now, and it's me, [former Boston College DB] Kamrin [Moore] and Gabe (former Boston College DB Gabriel McClary) right now and so on."
Even after Simmons left for the NFL in 2016, he remained in touch with Yiadom and the rest of his former teammates. He remains in a group chat with the defensive backs, and he's served as someone who Yiadom can go to about both faith and football.
As Yiadom looks to transition to the NFL, that relationship should pay dividends.
In the immediate moments after Yiadom was selected with the 99th-overall pick in the draft, Simmons made sure the young player felt welcomed to his new team.
"He was hyped," Yiadom said. "He texted me and he gave a couple of the other guys like Chris [Harris Jr.] and Von [Miller] my number. They texted me too to welcome me to the family. Justin put out a post and stuff like that. Yeah, he was happy and I was excited, too. Everyone was happy that we both are going to get together, and they know that it's going to be something special."
Once Yiadom arrives in Denver and gets on the field, Simmons' advice will likely be even more valuable.
"I think it's going to help me a lot," Yiadom said. "Justin is like my big brother. When I first went to college, he's the one that hosted me on my official visit and here, I know if I have any questions I can ask the coaches or Justin. He'll help me on and off the field. I know he's got high expectations for me, so I could never let myself go underneath the bar because I know he's looking at me and everybody else."
Simmons, who was also selected in the third round, has raised those expectations during his first two seasons. He has recorded four interceptions and a touchdown during that time, and he earned the starting job ahead of his second year.
He'll aim to help Yiadom accomplish the same.
The B.C. standard may have been met, but the Broncos' is even higher.