October 02, 2009
In the Limelight
Quiet star leads team by example
The senior mass communications major from North Braddock is a three-year starter for the football team in addition to being a dual record holder in indoor track.
"Without a doubt, one of the best athletes in the school-bar none," said Steve Briggs, head football coach who has coached Simpson the last four years.
Last season, Simpson led the Crusader secondary in tackles with 44 solo stops and 67 total, while intercepting two passes and breaking up five.
Now entering his senior season, the Crusaders are expecting big things from their versatile defensive back who "has the tools to be one of the best to ever play at Susquehanna," according to his player profile page from the school Web site.
When asked what makes him such a unique talent, Briggs didn't hesitate. "Speed," Briggs said, "he has exceptional speed which is evidenced by his success in track, and that enables him to close tremendous ground," he added.
That speed helped him set two school indoor track records in the 55- and 200-meter dashes. Simpson also attributes some of his success in track to football.
"In high school, I only ran track for football but now things have flipped. After playing football, I'm set for track and I'm real focused, which helps because the spring semester is real important academically as well," Simpson said.
This type of success is something Simpson must be accustomed to by now, having built an illustrious athletic career before starting his tenure at Susquehanna.
At Woodland Hills High School, Simpson was a two-year letterman in both football and track, and was just as successful in the classroom as he was in competition as he made high honor roll recognition.
This was likely a testament to his work ethic, which is observed by his coaches and teammates who regard him as a "quiet leader."
Simpson said he believes his work ethic is largely a result of a new mindset he took on for himself after his freshman year at Susquehanna.
"I didn't do too well in [my] freshman year and it really woke me up," Simpson said.
"I realized there were things that I would never be able to do if I didn't get on track, so I took on an attitude of always staying positive," he said.
Simpson added a word of advice when he urged, "whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability."
His attitude is certainly noticed by his peers on and off the field.
"You hear about some guys that let their actions do all of their talking, and Josh is one of those guys," Briggs said.
His toughness has been on display these last few weeks, as he has been playing despite battling a lower back injury that he suffered against Juniata.
"He's a little banged up now, but he competes and the guys like the way he goes about his business," he said.
With that versatility comes the responsibility to fill in at various positions and nobody is counted on to play as many positions as Simpson, who has spent time playing running back, cornerback, free safety and strong safety since his freshman year.
He expects to earn a bachelor's degree in mass communications in the spring of 2010.
At the end of the year Susquehanna will be losing a great athlete and, as his coach describes, "a great kid."
Simpson will lead his team against Merchant Marine tomorrow at 2:30 p.m.
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