CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Mallard Creek High School celebrated Channel 9's Big 22 Player of the Year Trenton Simpson Friday -- a coronation for one of the best high school football players in the state.
Simpson isn't just a top-ranked senior in North Carolina, he's a good student, which makes him a stellar student-athlete to represent the school, Mavericks and community.
"(He) has a good heart, comes from a really good family, kind of more than just a football player for our program," coach Mike Palmieri said. "He's a role model for the younger kids coming up."
Simpson, a linebacker and running back, received an overwhelming number of player of the year votes.
"Just knowing that people like me, as a person, and an athlete, that's the best feeling in the world," Simpson said. "Every vote counted. It shows, today, I won the award based on people who voted for me and believed in me and just knew I could win this award."
Trenton earned a special distinction as Channel 9's 10th Big 22 Player of the Year -- an honor he wanted to share with his teammates.
Congratulate Trenton on Twitter here!
Simpson is ranked the No. 1 player in North Carolina and 34th in the country, according to recruiting website rivals.com.
"We know it's pure," Palmieri said. "We know a really good kid got what he deserved. That's great for our program and great for him and his family."
Along with a player of the year trophy, Channel 9 gave the school a check for $10,000
"Now, people believe that they can do it here, so players who play for Mallard Creek know that I did it so they can do it too, under ‘Coach P.'"
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The star player was born in Fort Benning, Georgia, and was raised by his mother while his father served in the U.S. Army overseas.
They moved to Fort Stewart, Georgia, before settling in North Carolina.
Simpson said playing football helped him adjust to moving from one place to another.
"I actually played for different teams, four different teams, in my first six years of football, and it's just, like, me being really good and my personality, I was able to make friends fast, so I didn't really struggle from going place to place."
It became more difficult for Simpson when his father was stationed in Qatar in the Person Gulf.
He was in the eighth grade and spent two years of using Facetime video calls and emails to communicate with his father.
"It was a little tough for me knowing I grew up with him so much, then he had to move off, but it's life and I got used to it."
His father returned stateside for Simpson's sophomore year with the Mavericks.
"Definitely, just fueled me when I ran," Simpson said. "I had to run harder, because he's watching, just motivated me so much knowing he's able to watch me play football again. It made me feel real happy on the inside."
His father is now stationed at Fort Bragg.
Cox Media Group