Former MSU linebacker and Starkville native Barrin Simpson makes a tackle against Alabama. (Photo submitted by MSU media relations)
Former Mississippi State linebacker Barrin Simpson knows a little bit about streaks.
He was a part of back-to-back State championship teams that finished 15-0 each at Starkville High School in 1994-95.
In 1999, Simpson and the Bulldogs jumped out to an 8-0 start before losing a 19-7 decision to the Alabama Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa.
MSU is undefeated once again at 7-0 heading into today's matchup at Alabama and Simpson, for one, hopes this team can do something he wasn't able to accomplish.
Kickoff for the Bulldogs and Tide is set for 7:40 p.m. on ESPN and Simpson will definitely be one of the interested spectators.
"I was talking to Tyler (Russell) and (MSU) coach (Dan) Mullen about that and I told them that they've got to do what we didn't do," Simpson said. "We let Alabama sneak up on us. I've been telling everybody that we've got to beat Alabama this time. We need to take care of business. I'm excited about that."
Simpson now lives near Fort Worth, Texas, but was able to return to Starkville last weekend for homecoming activities at SHS and MSU.
He was recognized by athletic director Stan Miller during halftime of the game between the Yellowjackets and Yazoo City Indians.
After earning two All-State selections as a middle linebacker for Starkville, Simpson received a full scholarship to play with the Bulldogs.
"It's very special," Simpson said. "This is definitely where it all started with Dr. Miller and coach (Tate) Fischer. They helped make everything possible of getting us prepared in the classroom, not only on the field.
"In my senior year, Dr. Miller, coach Fischer and some of the other teachers helped develop an ACT class and really helped prepare us in the classroom for athletes that have that opportunity to get that scholarship."
Simpson got a chance to catch up on old times and tutor some of the current Jacket linebackers.
"I'm enjoying myself," Simpson said during the game. "They know I'm up here watching, so it's pretty awesome that I'm watching every play. I'm loving it. It's my first chance to return."
Simpson was a three-time All-Southeastern Conference member during his sophomore, junior and senior seasons at MSU. He was chosen a Sporting News first team All-American and a Dick Butkus Award semifinalist in his senior season.
After his career with the Bulldogs, Simpson began his professional career with the New England Patriots of the National Football League in 2000.
Simpson began his time in the Canadian Football League in 2001 with the British Columbia Lions and spent five seasons there. He signed with the Winnipeg Bluebombers in 2006 and remained with that squad until 2009. The final stop on his CFL tour was with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and played with them for two seasons (2010-11).
In his 11-year CFL career, Simpson was the 2001 Rookie of the year, a seven-time CFL All-Star (2001-2004, 2006, 2007, 2010), a two-time Most Outstanding Defensive Player (2001, 2006), and led the league in tackles five times (2001-03, 2006, 2010).
There's one more huge CFL honor that may come Simpson's way soon.
"I've been told that I should be a first ballot Hall of Famer," Simpson said. "I'm just grateful for the blessed career I was able to have."
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