The purpose of today’s post is to wish a “Happy Birthday” to Michigan Man Neil Simpson. According to the 1991 Michigan Football Media Guide, Cornelius “Neil” Simpson was born on on this day in 1969. He was an All-State football player (linebacker and offensive guard) at Highland Park High School in Highland Park, Michigan. He was also an outstanding track athlete. Neil decided to continue his football and his education at Michigan.
(Note – Neil Simpson (#65) is shown above with the 1991 Michigan Wolverine Football Team. He is seated in Row 2, seventh man from the left. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.)
Neil Simpson arrived in Ann Arbor to compete for a linebacking job on the Michigan Football team in 1987. In fact, he did very well for a freshman. Simpson cracked the starting lineup four times and earned his first letter. Michigan finished with a final record of 8-4-0. They ended up in fourth place in the conference with a record of 5 wins and 3 losses.
Michigan’s coaching staff decided to give Simpson a year off in 1988. He burned his red-shirt and spent his time mastering Michigan’s defensive schemes and getting stronger. Michigan won Bo’s twelfth Big Ten Title in 1988.
Neil Simpson was back on the field in 1989 and ready to go. He started every game on special teams and logged plenty of time at linebacker. He earned his second varsity letter and helped Michigan win another Big Ten Title – Bo’s thirteenth and last!
Simpson played for a new coach in 1990. Coach Gary Moeller must have been impressed with Neil’s play because Simpson started ten games at outside linebacker. He earned his third Michigan football letter and played on Coach Moeller’s first Big Ten Championship team.
The 1991 season was Neil Simpson’s last in Ann Arbor. He started six more games and helped the Wolverines win their fourth straight Big Ten Championship.
Yes, Neil Simpson left the Michigan Football program with his head held high. He earned four varsity letters and four Big Ten Championship rings. During his career, Simpson recorded 81 tackles, forced 1 fumble, broke up 2 passes and picked off 1 pass. He played a lot of good football on some very good Michigan Football teams.
Corneilius “Neil” Simpson is another important part of Michigan’s amazing football history. Please take a moment to appreciate his contributions to the winningest program in college football history. Happy Birthday to Neil Simpson. I hope that he has a great celebration on his special day. Go Blue!
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