Football or baseball was always a tough choice for Trent Simpson.
It got tougher during baseball season of his senior year at Oxford High School, when he came back from a football-related knee injury and went on a home-run tear that keyed the Yellow Jackets’ late-season surge into the playoffs and through the first two rounds.
“Honestly, up until signing day, I never even felt like I had a for sure answer,” he said. “Then, after the high school baseball season, my senior year, when I made first-team all-state, it really put a little bit more doubt in my mind as to whether I was making the right decision with football or not.”
Slightly more than a year later, Simpson has changed his mind. He will transfer from Mississippi State, where he was playing football, and concentrate on baseball. He’ll restart his baseball career at Chattahoochee Valley Community College in Phenix City.
Simpson committed to MSU in football in the summer before his senior year at Oxford and signed in February. He was originally set to gray shirt, meaning he would delay enrollment until the spring semester so he wouldn’t count against that year’s scholarship limits. However, MSU’s coaching staff took the gray shirt off when a scholarship opened.
Simpson was working toward his redshirt freshman year as a defensive end at MSU and had a sack in the Bulldogs’ spring game, but he wasn’t fully healthy.
He said he’s fine now, and none of his physical issues in the spring involved the knee he injured in a football game at Pell City his senior year of high school.
“I got banged up in the spring,” he said. “It was just the combination of working out and the physicality of playing football at that level, and I had gotten up close to 290 pounds.
“All of that combined, it wasn’t really healthy for me.”
He said giving up football was “tough.”
“I knew, eventually, I was going to have to make a decision,” he said. “It’s tough. You put in all that work, but it is what it is, and I’ve just got to live with it and move forward.”
He’s hoping to regain his baseball form in one year at Chattahoochee Valley and parlay that into a next-level move, either to the Major League draft or higher level college baseball.
“Last year, they had four guys that were going to an SEC school this coming up year,” Simpson said. “They had a pitcher go to Auburn, a third baseman go to Georgia, a catcher go to South Carolina and a pitcher go to Mississippi State.
“Seeing that they have a history of getting guys back up to big-time college baseball was definitely something that interested me.”
Simpson’s older brother, Tucker, is headed for Troy after being drafted in the 39th round of the big-league draft in June.
Sports Columnist Joe Medley: 256-235-3576. On Twitter @jmedley_star.