2009 Intro: Tyree Simpson

CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- Tyree Simpson has benefited greatly from the Evaluation Period. Somewhat of an unknown before the spring, several college coaches have left Myers Park High School in the last couple of months impressed with Simpson.

"I think a lot of it is just depending on if they need that kind of safety or that kind of fit for their program," Myers Park head football coach Jim Ruark said.

Junior Season Highlights:

At a broad 6-foot and 205 pounds with a combine-verified 4.56-second 40-yard dash time, Simpson is a hybrid safety/outside linebacker.

"He's relentless, he's a downhill safety," Ruark said. "It's really kind an amazing thing, because he's really a raw kid. He hasn't had a lot of playing time – [last season] was his first year really playing. He uses his athleticism and his instincts well."

East Carolina, Illinois, North Carolina, NC State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, and Wisconsin have all expressed strong interest in Simpson.

UNC is one of the schools that are recruiting Simpson the hardest. Area recruiter Tommy Thigpen discovered Simpson during the Evaluation Period.

"Coach Thigpen really likes him – loves his athleticism," Ruark said. "He's seen him on film [and] he's been in contact with him. [Simpson will attend UNC's camp next week] and they'll evaluate him there. I think Tyree will come back with an offer from that."

Simpson camped at East Carolina over the weekend and plans to attend camps at Illinois and West Virginia before working out for UNC coaches next week.

Over the spring, Simpson made several unofficial visits – East Carolina, NC State, and South Carolina. Before leaving Greenville, Simpson received an ECU scholarship offer.

"When we went up there for junior day, I talked to Skip Holtz," Simpson said. "He said I have a scholarship up there."

According to Simpson's conversations with Thigpen, UNC may be close to following suit.

"I talk to Coach Thigpen and he sounds like he's close to offering, but he hasn't done it yet," Simpson said.

While most schools are recruiting Simpson as a strong safety, UNC would like to bulk him up and move him to outside linebacker.

"He likes the fact that I can run and tackle," Simpson said. "That's what he likes in his linebackers."

Ruark can see Simpson excelling at either outside linebacker or safety. Ideally, though, he believes Simpson would best fit in a scheme that requires the hybrid type.

"I think he fits in as a downhill safety," Ruark said. "He's a guy that's going to play in the box. I think he's also a kid in a nickel package could roll up and be a linebacker.

"If a college, for instance, is running a 3-5 [scheme], he'd be one of those spur type of kids – those outside strong safety types. I think he's that hybrid kid that could do either [linebacker or safety]."

At Myers Park, Simpson stars at strong safety.

"We're a 4-3 scheme and we play a good deal of man coverage and we play some three-deep [zone coverage]," Ruark said. "… He'll roll up. When we rock him down, he becomes a fourth outside linebacker."

In his first year as starter, Simpson registered 58 tackles (40 solo), four interceptions, and three passes defended.

Additionally, Simpson returned kickoffs and saw time at running back and wide receiver. He collected 287 yards on nine kickoff returns.

With so much up in the air, Simpson isn't favoring any schools.

"I really can't pick a favorite right now," Simpson said. "I'm just keeping my options open right now."

If a favorable option presents itself, Simpson said he would to make a verbal commitment before the end of the month. If not, he said he'll ride the recruiting process out until after his senior football season.

Tyree Simpson Profile

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