Following the departures of Andrew Thacker and Travares Tillman, it seems Georgia Tech has hired their first replacement in the form of Jess Simpson. The news was reported by Rivals’ Kelly Quinlan.
#GaTech head coach Brent Key is starting to build out his defensive staff for 2024 and he has added former Duke Co-DC/DL coach Jess Simpson, a Georgia HS legend to his staff as a defensive assistant. A home run hire for Key on D. https://t.co/raUDVImnRO pic.twitter.com/mCNPIjWEkJ— Kelly Quinlan (@Kelly_Quinlan) December 29, 2023
As KQ alludes to in his tweet, Simpson was a longtime high school head coach at one of the premiere high schools (for football) in Georgia. He served as the head coach at Buford High School from 2005 to 2015. After his tenure at Buford, Simpson has made several other stops, including with the Atlanta Falcons, Miami Hurricanes, and (most recently) Duke Blue Devils.
With Duke, Simpson served as the co-Defensive Coordinator and Defensive Line Coach. He served alongside Tyler Santucci at Duke. Notably, neither of them were brought to Texas A&M with former Duke head coach Mike Elko. I don’t know if this means that Santucci is a candidate for Tech, but I would not be upset if that were the case.
Regardless, I really like this move, and I think it emphasizes what Brent Key has been trying to do with his staff: add coaches who have deep ties within the state of Georgia. Key has a few Georgia high school coaching legends already working on the team, and Simpson is another one to add to the group.
Interestingly, KQ did not make any mention about Marco Coleman (Tech’s current DL coach) being reassigned or fired, so it will be interesting to see if they split duties or if Coleman is looking at a different position next season.