What are Tennessee football’s chances to land elite in-state QB Ty Simpson Friday?

Ty Simpson, the 247 Sports Composites’ No. 3 quarterback in the country and the No. 2 overall prospect in Tennessee football‘s 2021 high school class will announce his college decision on Feb. 26 at 3 pm ET. His decision was originally scheduled to take place at Westview High School last week on Friday, Feb. 19 but was postponed due to inclement weather.

The 6’2″ 185-pound quarterback from Martin, Tenn. played his junior year at Westview High with current Tennessee football preferred walk-on, JT Carver. Simpson, who holds offers from 36 FBS programs, released his Top 10 last December.

Of the schools mentioned, the Vols have been competing with the Clemson Tigers, Alabama Crimson Tide, Florida Gators, Ole Miss Rebels and the Oklahoma Sooners among others. However, since that post from December, Simpson has narrowed his list of suitors significantly.

According to Simpson’s 247 Sports recruiting profile, only four teams; Alabama, Clemson, Ole Miss, and Tennessee football are listed as “warm” programs to land the composite ranking’s No. 27 overall recruit. There also appears to be a clear favorite.

247 Sports lists Dabo Swinney’s Clemson Tigers as the front runners to land Simpson. Not only do the Tigers have a crystal ball from Steve Wiltfong, the site’s Director of Football Recruiting, but they own 78 percent of the expert predictions on the Westview quarterback. The Rivals FutureCast and FanFutureCast both sway in favor of Swinney’s ACC powerhouse as well.

Martin, who appeared on Nashville’s WGFX-FM, 104.5 “The Zone” to discuss the final days of his college recruitment, spoke about Tennessee football and the conversations he’s had with new head coach Josh Heupel. Here’s a bit of what he said.

“He (Heupel) emphasizes just, one, playing football, and then also having a good time while you’re doing it. So being able to go up there and be, first off, a home-state quarterback at the home-state school and also play in a quarterback system like that with him would be pretty awesome.”

What the addition of Simpson would mean to Tennessee football

Of the many talented position groups on UT’s roster, none are more important, nor as deep, as the Vols’ quarterback group. The expected top-four players on the 2021 depth chart in no particular order are freshman Kaidon Salter, sophomore Harrison Bailey, junior Brian Maurer, and graduate-transfer Hendon Hooker.

Of those names, only Maurer wasn’t a top 300 player in 247 Sports’ recruiting rankings. Bailey was a five-star, according to Rivals, and Salter was the No. 47 player in 247 Sports’ 2021 player rankings, 14 spots ahead of where Simpson sits in their 2022 edition.

So, the Vols have a competitive position group, which is great for recruiting. Even better, their coaching staff has an elite track record of developing quarterbacks. Heupel, the quarterback whisperer, and QB coach Joey Halzle are two names that Tennessee football fans should be ecstatic about having on their sideline.

We’re not saying that UT is a lock to land the in-state quarterback. As we’ve mentioned, multiple sites don’t even consider them to be the favorite. But Vol fans should like their chances with Simpson heading into Friday.

Aside from a winning season to build on, the stage has never been better to land a player of Simpson’s level at his position. UT has the quarterback-minded coaches, they have the position depth and they have the hometown mojo going for them.

Simpson’s pledge wouldn’t just be a step in the right direction for Heupel and staff to lock down the other talented players in the Tri-Star state. Quarterbacks in general are always a terrific position to build a recruiting class around.

Just look at Harrison Bailey in Tennessee football’s 2020 recruiting class. He was joined by receivers Malachi Wideman, Jalin Hyatt and Jimmy Calloway.. Beginning at 3 p.m. ET, Simpson’s commitment will be broadcast live from Westview High School in Martin, Tenn. on CBS Sports HQ.