De­sire to play this fall a fac­tor in Simp­son’s de­ci­sion to trans­fer

Baltimore Sun - - WEATHER - By Ed­ward Lee

Run­ning back Shane Simp­son’s de­ci­sion to trans­fer from the Tow­son foot­ball pro­gram was spurred by the Colo­nial Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion’s an­nounce­ment two weeks ago to sus­pend foot­ball in the fall.

When­the con­fer­ence an­nounced July17 that it was post­pon­ing foot­ball, it left open the pos­si­bil­ity that the sport could re­sume in the spring. The league also gave mem­ber schools the free­dom to pur­sue their own sched­ules, but the Tigers opted against that route.

Faced with the prospect of wait­ing un­til the spring or even fall 2021, Simp­son chose to sub­mit his name to the NCAA trans­fer por­tal, mak­ing it pub­lic via Twit­ter on Thurs­day af­ter­noon.

“It all came down to once our sea­son got can­celed,” said the run­ning back, who is about to en­ter his sixth year of el­i­gi­bil­ity. “I didn’t want to leave be­cause I was go­ing to be a three-time cap­tain, and be­ing a cap­tain means a lot to me. I wanted to fin­ish the sea­son with my broth­ers for the last time, but ob­vi­ously due to the virus, that wasn’t go­ing to hap­pen.

“So it was ei­ther start train­ing for the NFL or get some more film. Now that I’m healthy, I chose to en­ter the por­tal.”

Simp­son’s an­nounce­ment drew plenty of re­ac­tion from cur­rent and for­mer team­mates. Tow­son coach Rob Am­brose said the 23-year-old Simp­son made a log­i­cal choice.

“When there has been lit­tle in­for­ma­tion about foot­ball this sum­mer, this fall and next spring, it makes sense for play­ers like Shane to seek op­por­tu­ni­ties where they can play foot­ball some­where else,” Am­brose said. “I don’t fault him for mak­ing a de­ci­sion that is about try­ing to pre­pare for the NFL and se­cur­ing his fu­ture.”

Simp­son said he will trans­fer to an NCAA Foot­ball Bowl Sub­di­vi­sion school be­cause many of those pro­grams plan to play this fall even if their sched­ules are ab­bre­vi­ated. He said he will mull of­fers with his fam­ily be­fore mak­ing a de­ci­sion in the next week or two.

Simp­son has com­piled 4,751 all-pur­pose yards in his ca­reer, high­light­ing his ten­ure by be­ing named the CAA’s Spe­cial Teams Player of the Year in 2019. That sea­son, he ranked sec­ond at the Foot­ball Cham­pi­onship Sub­di­vi­sion level in all-pur­pose yards per game (171.5) and col­lected 887 re­turn yards, 711 rush­ing yards and 12 to­tal touch­downs, in­clud­ing six rush­ing, five re­ceiv­ing and one via kick­off re­turn.

Simp­son is com­ing off a torn ACL and MCL that wiped out his sea­son as a fifth-year se­nior af­ter only three games in 2019. Since March, he has been strength­en­ing his knee, lift­ing four days per week, and par­tic­i­pat­ing in yoga ses­sions and laser treat­ments to hone his body.

“I’m 110 per­cent,” he said, not­ing that he has added about 10 pounds of mus­cle to his listed 5-foot-11, 195-pound frame. “I’m big­ger and stronger than I was last year. Over­all, I feel great.”

Simp­son said he had the word “pa­tience” tat­tooed on the right side of his right hand to re­mind him of the long re­cov­ery process.

“It wasn’t go­ing to hap­pen overnight, and it wasn’t go­ing to be quick,” he said. “You had to be real dili­gent with your work and stay true to your­self and re­main pos­i­tive.

“Hav­ing a pos­i­tive out­look is key with any in­jury, es­pe­cially with a knee in­jury. I think it’s 90 per­cent men­tal.”

MICHAEL WISER/TOW­SON ATH­LET­ICS

Run­ning back Shane Simp­son will leave Tow­son to pur­sue a play­ing op­por­tu­nity.

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