Linebacker Rickey Simpson Uses Speed

With so much emphasis on speed at the linebacker spots, there are fewer players capable of playing the position. When you find someone who has the size to defend the run and speed to cover receivers, you try to recruit him. Rickey Simpson is a player who will become more coveted once colleges see him in action.

Rickie Simpson is an upcoming senior at Waubonsie Valley High School. He is attending camps and combines this spring so colleges can find out about him. After all, he was an undersized lineman last year.

"I moved down to defensive end this year for the sake of my team. I will play anywhere my team needs me."

But Simpson realizes he is a linebacker and not a lineman.

"I'm an outside linebacker. I'm more like a speed-based player. I base a lot of my game off my speed.

"I think I'm a faster linebacker than others out there. So I like to use that. I definitely like the weakside linebacker spot where I can get out and run.

He is beginning to get noticed.

"I've been talking to Michigan, Illinois, NIU, Central Michigan, Western Michigan, a lot of Big 10 schools. I'm also hearing from Nebraska. I don't have any offers yet, I'm still waiting."

Simpson is still growing and filling out his body, so he is nowhere near his ultimate size and weight.

"I'm about 6'-2", 205. I've actually gained about 15 pounds since last year. I expect to be at about 220 by the time I go to college."

He was pleased with his junior season, but he feels his team will be even better this fall.

"We had a pretty good team. We got knocked out in the first round of the playoffs. But we were pretty young, so I think we will be pretty good coming back."

Midwest Recruiting Analyst Allen Trieu observed Simpson closely at Scout's recent Combine in Evanston, and he praised his athleticism and overall play. Keep in mind his 40 yard dash was electronically timed, and he ran on a slow surface in cold, windy conditions.

"Simpson is a great athlete and he showed it at the combine. He ran a 4.73, one of the fastest times of any linebacker. He then showed his speed and athleticism in drills, displaying good footwork and burst. In 1-1s, he was very natural in coverage and changes directions well.

"He will have to keep getting bigger, although he already has been doing that, measuring at 209. If he can keep his speed and add that bulk, he will be able to fit a variety of schemes in college."

Simpson observed an Illinois scrimmage in Oak Park this spring, so he's hoping they will keep watching him as well. He will likely attend some one-day camps where college coaches can see him perform in person. Once that happens, his popularity will likely increase by leaps and bounds.


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