How’d Alabama land elite QB Ty Simpson?
If you rewind a couple of months, and go back to late 2020, Tennessee was in the driver’s seat to land Ty Simpson. The talented 2022 quarterback out of Westview High in Martin, Tenn. was a strong Vols lean due to his connection to Jeremy Pruitt, Chris Weinke and others on the former staff in Knoxville.
Pruitt was fired as the Tennessee head coach in January, the connection with the in-state school was lost, and the no. 2 prospect in the state of Tennessee quickly took a look at his other options he had right below the Vols.
“I honestly was a lean towards Tennessee through most of the recruiting process, and I would say I thought about going there because of the relationships I had there, and how comfortable I was with the people there,” said Simpson. “Every time I walked up to Neyland Stadium, people screamed my name, I knew a lot of people there, and I knew I would have the chance to be able to help put the in-state school back on the map.
“Things changed though. Different things happened at Tennessee earlier this year, and I knew after praying about it that it wasn’t God’s plan for me to go there.”
Ole Miss, where Simpson’s grandfather played was considered for multiple reasons, including the family connection and Lane Kiffin. Texas A&M was a school in the mix because of Jimbo Fisher, and the fact that his son plays for Simpson’s father at Tennessee-Martin.
Then there was Texas, and the Longhorns were simply on the list because of Steve Sarkisian. The new head coach in Austin had been recruiting Simpson for the last 18 months when he was the offensive coordinator at Alabama.
Those schools were contenders somewhat, but after the change on Rocky Top, this became a battle between Nick Saban and the staff in Tuscaloosa vs. Dabo Swinney and the staff in Clemson.
“I really started making my real list of schools after my junior season ended, and I knew pretty soon who my main schools were. I started looking at what players stayed in school, what coaches moved to different jobs, and it was around November that I started to get serious about my recruiting.
“I moved into 2021, and I kept looking at new coaches, I was able to see who won the National Championship, and I kept narrowing things down. I got it down to three, then after eliminating Tennessee, it was down to Alabama and Clemson.”
It was the best vs. the best for one of the elite quarterbacks in the 2022 class.
“I did go back and forth a couple of times, because each is a top program in the country, and I cannot even think of anything bad to say about Clemson. Then you have Alabama — and it is Alabama.
“Clemson is like the Disney World of college football, and I know I could go there and do well, but Alabama is different. When people have the chance to go play at Alabama, their eyes light up and it is just different.
“Tuscaloosa closer to home, they play in big games every week, and in the SEC, it just means more, so Alabama just feels right for me.
“I am already thinking about play for the National Championship, playing for the SEC Championship, and it is just different at Alabama. I will get to play in the Iron Bowl, against Tennessee on the third Saturday in October, and I will be on the big stage every week there.”
On January 31, Simpson announced that he would be committing February 19, and a day later, he knew his decision was made. He has slept well the month of February, because he has known Tuscaloosa was where he was going to school.
“On February 1, I knew it was Alabama for me,” said Simpson. “I looked hard at who I wanted to play for, where I wanted to play at, who I would be playing with, and those types of things to get down to the final schools. I put a lot of thought into it, and I feel best about Alabama.
“Coach Saban told me he will always have the best coaches for me, that he will always put me in the best position, and having those kind of talks with him made me and my family feel great about my future at Alabama.
“As soon as my mind was made up, I was fired up about it. I was just waiting for the day I could tell everyone I am going to Alabama.”
That day is today. Simpson has publicly committed to the Crimson Tide.