For Simpson Home is Where the Heart is

In a game played not too far from his Peoria home, WR T.J. Simpson saw Monday night on T.V. the Florida Gators capture the national championship in an offensive explosion employed through a spread offense. That wide receiver friendly scheme, a staple of new ASU Head Coach Dennis Erickson, is one reason why the Peoria wide receiver decided earlier in the day to re-commit to the Sun Devils.

When it was decided that former ASU Head Coach Dirk Koetter wasn't going to continue with the Sun Devils, the 6-2 175 T.J. Simpson decided to re-open his recruitment, after verbaling to Arizona State on June 30th of last year. Once Erickson and his staff arrived in Tempe, they stressed to Simpson that much like the former coaching staff they strongly wanted him to still don the maroon and gold in 2007. Ultimately, they made a strong impression on the Peoria High School standout, who despite his somewhat brief de-commitment, still had strong and positive feelings for his original school of choice.

"It just felt right to re-commit," he told Devils Digest. "Everything just feels right with ASU. That's where my heart is, that's where I originally committed. I don't regret de-committing, because in the end I made the right decision…I'm looking forward to playing in a spread offense like Coach Erickson's. It's gonna be fun."

He appreciated the fact that friends and family allowed him to explore other opportunities, without pressuring him to stay close to home. "They said that all they want is what's best for me. They advised me to write the pros and cons of each school so I can make sure I'm picking the right school. I'm happy it's behind me and I know I picked the right school."

Some of his friends and fellow West Phoenix ASU Prospects such as William Yancy, Javario Burkes and Marcel Jones decided to commit to Nebraska last month. Nonetheless, their decision not to stay in town to play college football, didn't give Simpson the itch to also go and play out of state. "That was their decision and they decided that Nebraska was their kind of place," he explained. "For me ASU was the place."

In 2006 Simpson averaged over 19 yards a catch, hauling in 45 receptions for 872 yards with nine TD's. He also carried the ball eight times for 169 yards and two scores. Following his senior season he was an Arizona Republic 5A second team selection. As a junior, Simpson caught 29 passes for 749 yards and seven touchdowns. The wide receiver is also an accomplished track and field athlete. He captured the 5A state titles in is junior year in the 100m, 200m, and 400m races. He's looking forward to defending them in the spring. "It's just gonna come down to dedication and hard work," he commented. "I know I can do it." He added that he would be interested in continuing to participate in that sport once he arrives on campus and as long as it doesn't interfere with his football career.

The wide receiver visited Oregon State and Nevada in December and was set to visit Oregon this week before he re-committed. Washington State was another Pac-10 program that was pursuing him.

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