The 2020 college football season is loaded with talent at running back, with plenty of big names from powerhouse programs likely to command attention in the coming months.
But there are plenty of under-the-radar talents who will also flourish this season, and Towson’s Shane Simpson could end up being that diamond in the rough.
Simpson recently spoke exclusively with MCM about his unique journey to a sixth-year of eligibility, what he’s looking forward to in 2020, and which NFL star he would love to square off with in a footrace.
JM: You were recently granted a sixth-year of eligibility. It’s obviously a big year for you. What does having this bonus year mean to you?
SS: It means the world to me. I put so much effort into last season. For it to get cut short due to injury, it killed me. I was looking forward to playing that final year with my senior class, the teammates that I came in with. We were going to graduate and leave together but God had another plan for me. It took a big toll on me. I just wanted to get back to football. I didn’t wanna leave Towson like that. That’s not how I envisioned my collegiate career coming to an end. To be able to have this sixth-year, it’s such a rare opportunity for me. I’m incredibly thankful for it. It’s a blessing. I can’t wait to get back on the field.
JM: It’s definitely a rare opportunity. What are you doing to ensure this is your best year yet?
SS: I’ve been making sure that I’m doing everything right. I completely changed my diet. I’m making sure I’m eating right. Even through this pandemic, I was lucky enough to work in my training facility for a little while. With gyms being closed and what not, I’ve been fortunate enough to remain consistent with my training regimen. I’ve worked a lot on my strength over the past few months. I’ve been able to work out through this time. I’ve gotten better over this summer.
JM: That’s great. What can you tell me about the scheme Towson runs on offense?
SS: We run a spread offense, a pro-style offense. We run more of a zone scheme. It’s not a power-based offense. We’re a balanced offense. I wouldn’t say we’re run or pass heavy. It really depends on our opponent. We switch things up. We’re a very balanced offense.
JM: For our readers who are maybe still getting familiar with you, how would you describe your running style and overall skill-set?
SS: I’m a versatile player. I’m a fast, elusive running back. I can make a guy miss in the open field. I’m also a great receiver coming out of the backfield. I can do whatever it takes at the running back position.
#FCS leaders in all-purpose yards per game:— FCS Football (@FCS_STATS) November 8, 2018
1. Shane Simpson, Towson: 192.2
2. Kentel Williams, Austin Peay: 171
3. Calvin Turner Jr., Jacksonville: 169.4
4. Ryan Fulse, Wagner: 162.9
5. Josh Davis, Weber State: 161.9 pic.twitter.com/OEfxgvuWdb
JM: Do you prefer a 75-yard touchdown run, or carrying the ball 6+ times on a long drive?
SS: I’ll take the 75-yard touchdown all day long! Give me the 75. That’s a no brainer. I love showing off the speed.
JM: If there was one NFL quarterback you could take a hand-off from, who would it be and why?
SS: Can I pick a QB of the past? I don’t think I’ve ever been asked this question before.
JM: I’ll allow it.
SS: I have to go with Michael Vick. I love playing with a mobile quarterback, and he was the best athlete to ever play the QB position. I actually had a pair of his cleats when I was a kid (laughs). It would have been cool to play alongside him.
JM: You were a state finalist in the 100 Metres. Is there an NFL player you’d love to line up alongside in a footrace?
SS: Shoot, I welcome the competition. Bring me Tyreek Hill. I’d love to race Hill. He’s the fastest player in the NFL, right? I’d love to race him.
JM: That would be a good one. I’m sure you saw this, but Jim Nagy recently mentioned you as being on the Senior Bowl watch-list. How much would that invite mean to you?
SS: That would be huge. I don’t think anybody from Towson has ever gone to the Senior Bowl. I would love to be the first one. I was on their watch-list last year as well. For me to still be on there, it shows that they’ve kept their eye on me even through the injury and that means a lot to me. They actually mentioned me on my birthday a few weeks ago. That was a nice little birthday present (laughs). I’m confident that I’m going to receive that invite. When that day comes, it’s going to be a wonderful day for me.
SMALL-SCHOOL SATURDAY Vol. 2: Towson RB Shane Simpson was on @seniorbowl radar last year before a season-ending injury...J’ville State TE Trae Barry is a huge target...Montana State’s Troy Andersen and Citadel’s Willie Eubanks are two top FCS ‘backers. #TheDraftStartsInMOBILE pic.twitter.com/qkY42ab4Xo— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) June 13, 2020
JM: I love the confidence. I’ve appreciated your time today, Shane. In closing, what can Towson fans expect from Shane Simpson in 2020?
SS: I’m going to be a healthy Shane Simpson. They can look forward to me helping Towson pick up a lot of wins this season. I’m gonna be a leader out there. We have our eyes set on the conference championship.