Simms attended Ramapo High School in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, and was a standout in football and basketball. In football, he was a two-time All-State honoree, and was named the 1998 U.S.A Today National Offensive Player of the Year. Chris Simms graduated from Ramapo High School in 1999.
Simms, who played college football at the University of Texas at Austin, was heavily criticized for putting up big numbers against average and weak teams, but folding in big games and throwing interceptions, most notably in games against Big 12 South rival Oklahoma, against whom Simms finished 0-3. In the 2001 contest, he tossed four interceptions in a 14-3 loss. He also had a poor performance against Colorado in the 2001Big 12 conference championship game where he fumbled and threw four interceptions, the last being returned for a touchdown— all before the close of the first half. He was benched and Major Applewhite replaced him. Had Texas won, they would have played in the Rose Bowl for the national championship.
Most people believe that 2005 was Chris Simms's best year, as he threw for 2035 yards and tossed 10 TDs.