Mallard Creek High linebacker Trent Simpson said he felt at home on his official visit to Auburn two weeks ago.
He made up his mind then and chose the Tigers over North Carolina and Georgia. After keeping it a secret — not even his high school coach knew — Simpson made the announcement at a special ceremony in his school’s auditorium Friday.
“I felt at home there on my visit, and I really trusted the coaching staff,” he said. “I just look forward to getting there and getting molded. I just felt so comfortable there and I knew that was the place for me.”
247Sports ranks Simpson No. 52 overall, among all recruits nationally. The sports site ranks Simpson, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound senior, No. 2 in North Carolina and ranks him as the fourth-best recruit at outside linebacker in the class of 2020.
Simpson began his career at Mallard Creek as a 170-pound running back. He worked feverishly with Mavericks strength coach Donald Littlejohn to transform his body, lifting weights five days a week.
Last year, Palmieri talked to a bulked-up Simpson about switching to linebacker as his primary position. Palmieri felt that would elongate Simpson’s career and make him more attractive to recruiters.
As a junior, Simpson racked up more than 10 Power 5 offers. He was named to the I-MECK all-conference and the Observer’s All-Mecklenburg County team. Simpson had 74 tackles, 28 of which were for losses. He had eight sacks and six pass deflections.
“Trent’s a smart kid,” Mallard Creek coach Mike Palmieri said. “He’s got a great family and he made the best choice for his family and his future. Auburn’s a great school, amongst the others ones that wanted him, but he (choose) Auburn so we’ll support Auburn.”