Miami Hurricanes DL coach Jess Simpson has proven track record of success

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - NOVEMBER 24: (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - NOVEMBER 24: (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Miami Hurricanes defensive line coach Jess Simpson has a proven track record of success.

Re-hired on Thursday for his second stint with the Miami Hurricanes football program, defensive line coach Jess Simpson has a proven track record of success. Simpson is a legendary high school coach in Atlanta and has helped develop defensive linemen during his previous tenure with Miami and the Atlanta Falcons.

Simpson was first hired by Atlanta for the 2017 season as a defensive assistant. The Falcons ranked ninth in the NFL in total defense and rushing defense and 12th in pass defense in 2017. As defending NFC Champions, Atlanta won their Wildcard game against the Los Angeles Rams before being eliminated by Philadelphia.

Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett was one of the players Simpson helped mentor in Atlanta. In 2017, Jarrett had 55 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and four sacks. With Simpson back on the staff in 2019 and 2020, Jarrett combined for 121 tackles, 20 TFLs and 11.5 sacks in the last two seasons.

Jarrett was named to the Pro-Bowl in 2019 and 2020 and was second-team All-Pro in 2019. The Falcons were stout against the run in 2020 but struggled in pass defense. Atlanta was sixth against the run in 2020, but last in the NFL in passing yards allowed. The Falcons were 24th averaging 1.8 sacks per game in 2020.

In 2018, Simpson helped Miami Hurricanes DT Gerald Willis become a second-team All-American. Willis had 59 tackles, 18 TFLs and four sacks. Miami led the nation with 10.46 TFLs and was ninth averaging 3.08 sacks per game in 2009. Simpson also worked with Greg Rousseau during his freshman season.

Rousseau had to sit out the 2018 season following ankle surgery. As a redshirt freshman in 2019, Rousseau led Hurricanes defensive linemen with 54 tackles and led the entire Miami team with 19.5 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks under Simpson’s then replacement Todd Stroud. Now Simpson is replacing Stroud.

Stoud has been reassigned to as a Senior Football Advisor due to medical reasons. Simpson will have a difficult job rebuilding the edge rushers for the Miami football team. Jaelan Phillips and Quincy Roche are expected to be first or second day selections in the 2021 NFL Draft with Rousseau.

Rousseau opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19. Phillips was the breakout star of the 2020 Miami defense with 45 tackles, 15.5 TFLs and eight sacks in being named a consensus second-team All-American in 2020. Roche had 45 tackles, 14.5 TFLs and 4.5 sacks for Miami in 2020.

Tennessee transfer DeAndre Johnson and redshirt freshman Jahfari Harvey are the likely starters for Miami in 2021. Redshirt freshman Cameron Williams and true freshman Chantz Williams will likely back up Johnson and Harvey. Miami does not have an edge rusher who has been a full-time starter in college.

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Johnson had his best season in 2020 recording 28 tackles, six TFLs and 4.5 sacks for the Volunteers. Johnson brings much needed experience to the Miami defensive line as Manny Diaz will take over the play calling of the defense again in 2021 and Simpson returns with many new players since he left two years ago.