Bulldogs eyeing 2016 linebacker

Bulldogs eyeing 2016 linebacker

Pacific Palisades (Calif.) Palisades linebacker Alec Simpson figures to a sought after recruit. With USC, UCLA, and Oregon hot on his heels, where does Fresno State sit with him?

Recruiting never ends in college football. Most coaches have their moves mapped out several years in advance and the Fresno State recruiting staff is no different. Despite taking five linebackers in the past class, the Bulldogs are already eyeing a 2016 California linebacker expected to make a big splash on the scene before too much longer.

Pacific Palisades (Calif.) Palisades linebacker Alec Simpson has begun to hear from the staff at Fresno State quite frequently. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Simpson has seen an upswing in his recruitment recently. Heavy hitters like Oregon, USC, and BYU have come calling along with schools like Fresno State and Louisville. So far the only one to come and check him out is Oregon, though.

” Oregon came to visit me two Wednesdays ago at my school,” Simpson said. “They came to watch me during a seven on seven. That’s the only school that’s come by to watch me so far. Coach Chinander of Oregon, the linebacker coach came to watch me. So, yeah, that’s the only school that came to visit. Otherwise, I’ve been in contact with mainly Fresno State, USC, I’ve been talking to Louisville a lot. Definitely in contact with Oregon. BYU has definitely been in contact a lot. Washington State has been in contact of sure.”

Simpson has specifically been in contact with Fresno State defensive coordinator Nick Toth. As with most linebackers, Toth likes to handle their recruitment and sell them on what it means to play the position at Fresno State. According to Simpson, Toth had some pretty strong words for Simpson about the physicality with which he plays and it’s something Simpson highly appreciated.

“BYU has definitely been recruiting me like crazy,” Simpson. “They’re recruiting me very heavily, but they definitely want me to give them a call almost every day. Also, Fresno State’s defensive coordinator, Nick Toth, has also been recruiting me. Great coach. He’s awesome. I mean, he watched my film and he told me straight up, ‘man, you’re a something baller. I love your size and speed, the way you hit people. It’s great.’ I love the way he was talking to me on the phone. He’s awesome.”

As of now, nobody has the edge in Simpson’s recruitment. 2016 is still a ways off and he would like to have the time to evaluate all of his options before making a choice. While he’s building relationships with the coaches, Simpson says that he is an open book that is ready to hear what each school has to offer in terms of life and football.

“I’m open about my recruitment to every program,” Simpson said. “Oregon has the facilities. There’s nothing like it. USC, I’m going to take a visit over there. Reach in, go check it out, meet a couple coaches, and hang out at the facilities. USC, I think, is a great program. UCLA also invited me to the spring game in April. I got to talk with Pat Girardi. He’s the recruiting coordinator over there and he’s an awesome guy. He loves my size and loves my speed, also. He’s interested as well. I mean, I’m open to all schools.

“I love every school that has my business major and that’s a program at every school I’ve talked to. That’s been huge, as well. Actually, a couple school that have mainly said that have been Cal mainly said, “we love you but we’d love to see you at camp or see you on campus.” BYU just mainly said, “I’d love to see you on campus to talk with Head Coach Mendenhall.” Then Fresno State basically said I was a baller. USC was just like, “wow, you’re 6-foot-3 and a sophomore. That’s huge.”

While it might seems like Simpson just loves everyone, the fact of the matter is that he’s trying to hear everyone out and make the right decision for him. Part of that process is scheduling visits and it’s something Simpson has already been thinking about. Simpson appears to be aiming for local schools, but family in the Midwest means that a B1G school may get a visit from the thumping linebacker.

“I actually attended San Diego State’s camp last week,” Simpson said. “That was fun. I was supposed to camp up at Cal, maybe. I talked the coach two days ago. He’s wanting me to take a visit up there in July. So I might take a visit up there and camp in late June, as well. I’ll just see what happens. If I can make it, I can. If I can’t then I’ll probably camp somewhere else. I’m definitely trying to camp at SC, as well. Then, I’m taking a visit to Illinois ‘cause I have family out in Chicago. So I’m going to take a visit over there and see what it’s like. SC I’m going to go look at pretty soon. I’m definitely going to go late June. I’ve been talking to Peter Sirmon, the linebacker coach. He wants me to go check it out and talk to him in person. Then, Fresno State, I might go take a visit later in the summer. I’d love to go check out Fresno State. The facilities look amazing from what I’ve seen on the website.”

As for which schools will get an official visit, that’s a little more up in the air at this time. According to Simpson, those who have been coming after him the hardest will be among the first to get an official visit from he and his family.

“I’ll probably schedule them by which schools have had the most contact so far,” Simpson said. “Pretty much the schools that have shown the most interest, that call me, they deserve visits. Also, schools that I have an interest in, as well. I thought that they deserve visits, as well. I basically set out three things that I’m looking for in a school. Mainly I’m looking for that they have a good major in either business or broadcasting. I’m also looking for a school that’s looking to win football games, that has the will to win where I feel like I can contribute and give back to the school. The third reason is stadium atmosphere, which is huge for me. Stadium atmosphere to me is like nothing else. If I see the crowd getting hyped, it makes me want to hit someone that much harder. That’s definitely something for me.”

One thing you won’t hear of Simpson doing during this recruitment process is pushing coaches and schools to offer him. Simpson prefers to play it cool and allow the schools to make their offer to him. As much as Simpson would like to feel wanted at certain places, finding the right fit is far more important than racking up offers left and right. This is not to say that he won’t gladly accepts dozens of offers, but he won’t be pressing the issue to get them.

“I don’t like to address schools or force them to offer me,” Simpson said. “That’s just not who I am. I will give them as much time as they need in order for them to offer me. I’m just waiting until their time is right to see what I have to give to their program for them to offer me. That’s just my personality.

Simpson’s recruitment is just heating up, but it already sounds like there are going to be some major players for his services. Fresno State has a strong linebacking presence already, but Simpson would make a great fit in Toth’s scheme.

Stay tuned to BulldogPlaybook.com for more updates on the 2014 Fresno State season. Josh Webb is a Staff Writer for BulldogPlaybook. You can follow him on Twitter at @FightOnTwist.

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