When Josh Heupel was introduced late last month as Tennessee's new head football coach, he stressed the program "has to lock down our borders."
Friday afternoon reflected just how steep of a climb Heupel faces.
Ty Simpson, the five-star quarterback from Westview High School in Martin, announced his commitment to Alabama on CBS Sports HQ. The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder, who selected Nick Saban's Crimson Tide over Clemson and Ole Miss in addition to the Volunteers, is the No. 3 pro-style quarterback nationally and the No. 27 prospect overall in the 247Sports.com composite rankings for the 2022 signing cycle.
Asked by CBS Sports why he chose Alabama, Simpson said: "Playing for the guy who's won seven national championships and being close to home. Playing for a guy who can develop players. It's very exciting to play with the best, be coached by the best and developed to be NFL ready."
In leading Westview to the second round of the TSSAA Class 3A playoffs this past season, Simpson completed 124 of 203 passes (61.1%) for 1,888 yards with 20 touchdowns and four interceptions.
Simpson is the son of UT Martin coach Jason Simpson, who has an 87-73 record through 14 seasons with the Skyhawks. UT Martin didn't play any games this past fall but is scheduled to open its seven-game spring season Sunday at Murray State.
Before taking the reins at UT Martin in 2006, Simpson was the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga offensive coordinator under Rodney Allison from 2003-05. The Mocs went 6-5 in 2005, which would be the only winning season in Allison's six years.