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John Simpson: More than just a big body, he's an athlete


by - Senior Writer -
Simpson scored a touchdown in the win over NC State in Raleigh.
Simpson scored a touchdown in the win over NC State in Raleigh.

CLEMSON – John Simpson is more than just a big body, and he wants NFL teams to know that.

The big offensive guard out of Charleston performed for NFL scouts, general managers and coaches at Clemson’s Pro Day last Thursday, and he was hoping to show off his athleticism as well as his size.

“I was just trying to show (NFL teams) that I’m more explosive than most teams may think, more athletic,” Simpson said. “Most teams think that I’m just a bigger guy that can move, but not really move. I was just trying to show them that I can do everything and be agile, and just trying to boost my stock.”

The 6-foot-4, 321-pound Simpson recorded a time of 1.77 in the short shuttle, while also registering a time of 7.97 in the L-drill that was better than the 8.03 time he logged at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Simpson also ran a 5.18 40-yard dash, besting his 5.24 time at the combine.

“All the time I was training, I just knew I had a better time at doing the short shuttle and the 3-cone drill,” he said. “I was like I know I can do better, so I might as well just go out there and try it.”

Mission accomplished?

“Oh, absolutely,” he said. “I think I did really well as far as my get off the ball quick and my pulling and all that stuff. So, I think I did pretty well.”

The NFL has plenty of tape to look at when it comes to Simpson. He helped Clemson post a 29-1 record during his two seasons as a full-time starter, playing 2,043 snaps over 50 games (29 starts) in his career. In a nod to Simpson’s athleticism, head coach Dabo Swinney let the big man carry the rock.

He played 53 snaps and scored on a one-yard touchdown run (the first touchdown of his football career at any level) in Clemson’s Atlantic Division-clinching win at NC State, becoming Clemson’s first offensive lineman to score a touchdown since 2011 and earning ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week honors.

Simpson has been projected as high as the second round by many mock drafts, and he’s spoken with several teams who have shown interest. However, he knows the best way to deal with the unknown is to trust God.

“I don’t really know,” he said. “I put that all in God’s hands. I’m going to just trust in the process and let my ability talk for me. I don’t want to speak on that It’s very difficult, man, not knowing what your next year’s going to look like, not knowing where you’re going to be. It’s all difficult, but like I said, I put all my trust in God and wherever I fall, that’s where I fall, and I’m just going to be me wherever I go.”

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