Alabama commitment Ty Simpson enters spring practice under same head coach for first time

Michael Odom
Jackson Sun

Spring football practice has kicked off at Westview.

How much five-star quarterback Ty Simpson participates will depend on how far the school's baseball team advances in the postseason. However, for the first time in four years, Westview will have the same coach from the previous season.

Simpson, an Alabama commitment, believes that having to adapt year to year has helped develop him into a better quarterback.

“It has been a challenge, but I was open for the changes," Simpson said. "I have had three great coaches that I still keep in touch with to this day. I don’t think I would be where I am today if I didn’t have that adversity.”

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As of now, Simpson, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound athlete, will only participate in spring football practice if the baseball team is eliminated in the early stages of the District 13-AA tournament.

Simpson started his career with former Westview coach Trey Cantrell before moving on to Matt McConnell. Jarod Neal took over last spring as teams were dealing with COVID-19 guidelines, and Neal is back for this spring.

Neal didn't have the constant head coaching changes during his four years of high school football at Beech. And Jason Simpson — Ty's dad — was his college coach at UT Martin all four years of college. But Neal did have different quarterback coaches at UTM.

"For any high school player, it is hard when the coach changes because you have to learn a whole new system," Neal said. "It helped that we knew each other already and had been around each other.

"He has always been accepting to the changes I brought. He has been integral part in getting others to buy into what we are doing."

Westview seems to have consistency going into the 2021 season, and the Chargers drop down to Class 2A, leaving behind the region matchups against Covington, Milan and South Gibson.

“I am excited with our team," Simpson said. "We have a lot of players coming back, and we are all bought in. We all want the same thing, and that is to win a state championship. If I told you that I didn’t want to win a state championship and that wasn’t my goal, I would be lying.

"A state championship is one of my goals and being in the running for 2A Mr. Football."

So how is Simpson working to be prepared for his last season with the Chargers?

“Everybody wants to be faster and stronger, but I want to be smarter," Simpson said. "I want to be able to outsmart everybody. Having my dad as a college head football coach is helpful because we run the same offense and scheme that he runs. Being able to know what defense the team is going to run and then knowing this is where I need to throw the ball. Being smart in high school football will carry you a long way.”

Even though he won't participate in spring ball as it currently stands, summer workouts are right around the corner. And TSSAA is set to allow teams to return to participate in 7-on-7 competitions and scrimmages, after those were not allowed last summer due to COVID-19.

“Last spring and summer, you didn’t know who was going to be quarantined or who would be eligible to play," Simpson said. "Our staff and athletic department did a great job keeping everyone socially distanced. But we didn’t have that same grind from camp to preseason workouts. We got out there knowing this is how you do it, but it didn’t feel the same. The preparation was totally different.”

In his career, Simpson has completed 314-of-571 passes (.549) for 4,618 yards and 48 touchdowns, and he has rushed for 1,410 yards and 27 touchdowns.

Simpson is listed only behind St. Benedict lineman Walter Nolen among top Tennessee recruits. He is also listed nationally behind two quarterbacks, Ohio State commitment Quinn Ewers of Texas and LSU commitment Walker Howard of Louisiana.

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Reach Michael Odom at michodom@jacksonsun.com or 731-425-9754. Follow him on Twitter @JSWriterMichael.