For Ty Simpson, is UT Martin a legitimate option for Tennessee football target?
When Westview quarterback Ty Simpson, a four-star recruit, made his top 10 list in December, there were plenty of SEC representatives with Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Texas A&M.
There were also three other Power 5 teams with Clemson, Oklahoma and Texas.
But the 10th team on the list didn't come from an FBS school.
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Simpson listed UT Martin of the Ohio Valley Conference as one of his top 10 choices. Simpson's father, Jason Simpson, has been the coach for the past 15 years. So is UT Martin a legitimate option in Ty Simpson's mind for college?
“Being able to stay home and sleep in my house and have my dad coach me would be an awesome experience," Ty Simpson said. "I could come out here and support my city.”
Simpson, who is listed at 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, is the No. 43 recruit in the nation in the Class of 2022, according to the 247Sports Composite. He is the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback and No. 2 recruit from the state of Tennessee.
He is set to make his college decision at 2 p.m. on Feb. 19 in the school's gymnasium.
Simpson admits that playing for his father would be special, and he has been around the program almost all of his life.
“He has given me a lot of advice and help with mechanics," Ty Simpson said. "Whatever you want in a coach, he did for me. I wouldn’t be in this position without him.”
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That is part of the reason that Ty Simpson is making his college decision on Feb. 19 because the Skyhawks open their season on Feb. 21.
Jason Simpson hasn't pushed Ty to come to UT Martin and has let him do some of the decision making on his own.
“I told him that he should go where his dreams and his goals are," Jason Simpson said. "This community cares a lot about him and has done a lot through his recruitment. And he said that UTM was going to be in his top 10 and top 5. I take it as a badge of honor, and it is a compliment to our relationship.”
Although Jason Simpson said that an offer from UT Martin wasn't automatic.
“There was a running joke in our house for over a year because people would ask me why have you not offered Ty," Jason Simpson said. "The running joke was that I see his room every morning and hear his momma yelling at him about how dirty it is, so I know I his flaws.”
Younger brother Graham, who is in the fifth grade, had his scholarship offer first from UT Martin when Jason Simpson rewarded his son the year before.
A bet, where Ty Simpson needed 300 passing yards and 100 rushing yards in a game, led to his offer when he accomplished the feat against Obion County in September.
“Graham said one day that he wants to play for me, so I told him he was offered," Jason Simpson said. "So he took that and would throw it in Ty’s face. Anytime they have disagreements, Graham says that is why dad hasn’t offered you and I have the UTM offer. First thing he asked me coming off the field after that Obion County game, is do I have that UTM offer now?”
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Reach Michael Odom at firstname.lastname@example.org or 731-425-9754. Follow him on Twitter @JSWriterMichael.