He appeared on his way to an outstanding college career with 11 receptions for 133 yards as a freshman, being named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team by The Sporting News and Rivals.com.
However, Sims' path to stardom hit a major speed bump when he pleaded guilty to a felony receiving and concealing stolen property charge. He sat out the 2010 season, although he did have the charge expunged under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act.
Sims returned to the Spartans in 2011, but was limited to just 12 catches as he played through a broken wrist. He didn't have a single reception over the Spartans' final seven games.
"A lot of adversity, a lot of setbacks," Sims said during fall practice in August, 2012. "But I think it's time to just forget about everything that's made me stronger and just come out ready to go."
The coaching staff lauded Sims' work over the 2012 offseason, including reducing his body fat from 18 percent down to around 12-13 and improving his focus and technique on the field.
Sims went on to catch a team-high 24 passes through the first five games of his junior season. Unfortunately, he would suffer an ankle injury that sidelined Sims for almost three full games. He still finished with 36 catches for 475 yards and two touchdowns.
"Despite missing nearly three full games, Dion Sims still earned second-team All-Big Ten honors, so that says something about his production," Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio said. "He's a big target with great hands. With his combination of size and power, Dion is difficult to bring down, so gains a lot of yards after the catch. He's also a much improved run-blocker."
At 6-5 and 285 pounds, Sims looks almost more like an offensive lineman, but he moves like a tight end with the foot quickness and body control to be an effective pass-catcher. He finished 2012 with just 36 catches, but he was left home at the line of scrimmage to block a lot in the Spartans' offense, and the ankle injury and inconsistent quarterback play didn't help.
WEAKNESSES: Significant durability concerns. Sims was limited by various injuries in 2010, including a broken wrist that resulted in him going the final seven games without a reception. Missed almost three full games as a junior due to an ankle injury, and seven games as a high school senior due to a knee injury. Appears to have matured, but will need to answer questions about the felony charge that led to missing the 2010 season.