NORFOLK, Va. — During the past few years, William Simpson has had to work to earn what he has achieved as a member of the North Carolina A&T State University football team.
Simpson, a former football player at Northeastern High School, has worked his way up the N.C. A&T State depth chart and is a key contributor for the Aggies this season.
Simpson was able to play in front of family and friends Saturday as the Aggies faced Norfolk State at William Price Stadium.
The contest was a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference matchup.
North Carolina A&T State, considered one of the top teams in the NCAA’s Football Championship Subdivision or the old Division I-AA, is ranked No. 14 in the country in the FCS coaches poll and No. 13 in the STATS poll after defeating Norfolk State 58-19 Saturday to improve to 4-1 on the season and 2-0 in the MEAC.
Winning isn’t new to Simpson on the gridiron.
“I come from a winning school,” he said referring to his time at Northeastern. “Winning was a must when I got here. I wouldn’t want to be with no one else.”
Simpson, who is a redshirt-senior for the Aggies, played the majority of the game on offense as a blocking fullback.
He said after the game that he felt he played a good, physical game against the Spartans.
“We got the [win] so I think I did my part,” Simpson said.
With Norfolk, Virginia less than an hour’s drive south to Elizabeth City, Simpson said that he had around 30 family members come to the game to support him.
“I really want to go back with them,” Simpson said. “I missed them, but it was really nice. They gave me a little bit of an extra boost.”
Simpson along with his teammates had fun against Norfolk State.
After every touchdown, the N.C. A&T players mimicked the same dance celebration.
“I’m an energy guy,” Simpson said with a smile. “As long as everybody is having fun, we’re going to be on our A-game.”
Simpson’s hard work during his time in Greensboro with the Aggies was rewarded in August as he was presented with a full football scholarship for his senior season.
Simpson noted that when he got to A&T, he knew the odds were against him receiving a full scholarship, but with the encouragement of a coach, Simpson kept grinding and working.
In a room in front of his teammates, Simpson along with teammate Najee Reams both received full scholarships from North Carolina A&T State head coach Sam Washington.
“You earned this. This is not a gift,” Washington said to Simpson during the presentation. “I will always treasure you man.”
Simpson has started in all five games for the Aggies this season and also contributes on special teams as a blocker on field goal and the kickoff return units along with covering punts.
He noted that by embracing his roles, it allows him to be a leader on the team.
Simpson added that he tells the younger players on the team that if they keep working, then they may be in a better position than he is in the future.
Some of the younger players on the team include former Northeastern quarterback and defensive back Aaron Harris and former Currituck County High School linebacker and running back Albert Harris.
Both are freshmen this season.
The Aggies also feature former Currituck quarterback and safety Tyler Schuster.
Schuster, who previously played at Fork Union Military Academy before earning a spot on the Aggies roster, is a redshirt-senior safety this season.
The Aggies, the defending MEAC champions, are in the driver’s seat in the league to repeat as conference champions and to make a return trip to the Celebration Bowl in Atlanta to face the SWAC football champion.