I wrote about my favorites in Oklahoma last week and Clinton's Marquiz Simpkins was one of them, and he is my favorite to be the second back in the class.
The 5-9 1/2, 185-pound Simpkins came in and ran a 4.35 in the forty at the Cowboys prospect camp, a number that we believe was used in The Oklahoman's Tuesday edition where they profiled Simpkins as one of their Top 30 in the state.
Simpkins is special. I have seen him play a couple of times and while he rushed for over 2,000 yards as sophomore and then came back and rushed for only 1,399 yards last season there is a reason for the drop off.
My good friend Dennis Smith is not only the district attorney for the county but he is also the voice of Red Tornadoes football on radio. He has seen a lot of Clinton greats come through. He knows a great player from a good one and good one from an average player. He likes Simpkins a bunch and puts him closer to that Clinton great category.
I asked Dennis two things about Simpkins, is he tough and is he a good kid?
On the tough, Smith said Simpkins kept playing last season with a pinched nerve in his ankle that would have kept many players, especially running backs, out for a lot of games. He also sprained the other ankle and was generally beat up as opposing defenders were getting better shots at the speedy back than they were used to from the season before. Simpkins missed one game and really toughed it out. His head coach Mike Lee was appreciative as were his teammates.
"I don't want to be injured," Simpkins told The Oklahoman. "I don't want to get hurt. I want it to be like my sophomore season."
Yes, but it is good to know, especially with a running back, that he can tough it out. He is also a good kid and a good student. He does the right things.
An in-state running back? Oklahoma State wanted one and thought they had him in Devon Thomas until he allegedly did the wrong thing in being charged with various felony counts in an armed robbery. My hope is the Cowboys still look for one and decide that the Red Tornado from Clinton would look good in orange.