Jerome Simpson #81 WR
Height: 6-2 Weight: 190 Age: 28
Born: 2/4/1986 Reidsville , NC
College: Coastal Carolina
Experience: 7th season
High School: Reidsville HS [NC]
Selected By: Cincinnati Bengals
Pick (Overall): 15 (46)
Unquestionably the face of the Chanticleers' program, Simpson brought the young program into the national spotlight with a sensational junior campaign. The school record-holder for game, season and career marks in receptions, yardage and touchdowns, he produced 11 multiple-touchdown performances in 41 games.
Simpson holds the Big South Conference career-record with 2,430 yards receiving, including a Big South season-record 1,077 yards in 2006, a year he also set the league mark with 16 touchdown catches.
At Reidsville High School, Simpson earned Class AA All-State honors and was a runner-up for Class 2-AA Mr. NCHSAA Football honors as a senior. He added All-State accolades during his junior season. He led the team to back-to-back Class AA state titles, setting a championship game-record with 13 catches for 133 yards, while also throwing a 62-yard scoring strike to earn Most Valuable Player honors in his final year. He would go on to play in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas and also competed in the East-West game.
In his final campaign, Simpson hauled in 96 passes for 1,324 yards (13.8-yard average) and 14 touchdowns, despite missing three games with an injury. The school's all-time leading receiver amassed almost 3,000 receiving yards during his last two seasons. He also lettered in basketball and track. He led the hoops squad to its first state title as a senior, scoring 19 points in the championship game to garner MVP honors. He also ran on the school's 4x400-meter relay team that captured the state title (3:21).
As a true freshman at Coastal Carolina in 2004, Simpson earned Big South Conference Freshman of the Year honors and was named Big South Freshman of the Week three times during the season (vs. Morehead State, Davidson and Charleston), where he posted his first career 100-yard receiving game. He started all 11 games, coming up with 26 receptions for 419 yards (16.1-yard average) and eight touchdowns at split end, adding an assisted tackle and a stop for a loss on limited defensive play.
Simpson was a second-team All-Big South Conference selection as a sophomore, as he started six of 11 games in 2005. He also earned South Carolina All-Star recognition from the Orangeburg Touchdown Club. He led the team with 33 catches for 527 yards (16.9 avg) and nine touchdowns, but lost 29 yards on a pair of reverses. He recorded one solo tackle and scored 54 points for the season.
In 2006, Simpson became the first player in school history to gain over 1,000 yards in a season. The All-American second-team choice by the Associated Press and Football Gazette added All-Big South Conference first-team accolades to his resume. He led the league and ranked eighth nationally in receiving yards (89.75 yards per game), ranked third in the Big South in receptions (5.08 per game) and set the school and conference record for touchdown catches (16). He scored 96 points while grabbing 61 passes for 1,077 yards (17.7 avg) and ran once for an eight-yard loss.
With Tyler Thigpen graduated, Simpson had to develop chemistry with the team's young quarterbacks in 2007, as the aerial game struggled to gain momentum. Through the team's first 10 games, he ranked fifth in the Big South in receptions (3.7 rpg) and receiving yards (61.3 ypg). He led the team with 37 receptions for 613 yards (16.6-yard average) and 10 touchdowns. He returned a kickoff 15 yards and also gained 10 yards on a reverse. He recovered a fumble and recorded one solo tackle.
Simpson also lettered twice on the school's track team. He was a member of the 2006 Big South Conference Men's Outdoor Track and Field Championship squad, earning All-Big South honors after finishing third in both the high jump and long jump. He also set a new school record in the high jump with a leap of 2.05m (6' 8.75").
He finished third at the NCAA East Regionals in the long jump and qualified for the 2007 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.. He was also on the school record 4x400-meter relay squad that set the new mark at the Big South Championships.
In 44 games at Coastal Carolina, Simpson started 38 games. He set school records with 157 receptions for 2,636 yards (yardage is also a Big South Conference mark) and 41 touchdowns, averaging 16.79 yards per catch. He scored 246 points, rushed four times for losses totaling 27 yards (minus-6.8-yard average) and returned a kickoff 15 yards. He recorded three tackles (two solo), including one for a three-yard loss and recovered one fumble.