Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 27
 
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
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(Photo by Bill Allen/NJ SportAction)

RECIPE FOR SUCCESS: Recently graduated Princeton High football star Jordan Simpson snaps the ball last week in a practice for the East squad as it prepared for the Sunshine Football Classic which takes place on July 2 at The College of New Jersey’s Lions Stadium. It will be Simpson’s last football game as he will be entering the Culinary Institute of America this fall.

Former PHS Star Simpson Looking to Cook as He Ends Football Career in Sunshine Game

Bill Alden

Jordan Simpson loves to fire up the grill and he can whip up a tasty marinara sauce.

The recent Princeton High grad will be pursuing his love of cooking this fall when he enters the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y.

But Simpson, who also cooked on the football field as a star offensive lineman for PHS, will be enjoying one last helping of the sport when he plays for the East squad in the 12th annual Sunshine Football Classic all-star game on July 2 at The College of New Jersey’s Lions Stadium.

The 6’0, 215-pound Simpson is fired up to get the chance to play in the all-star game which features recently graduated stars from high schools and prep schools in Mercer, Somerset, Hunterdon, and Burlington counties.

“I’m trying to make the most of it; the offense is clicking,” said Simpson, who will be playing center in the game.

“It is a great group of guys. I love Coach Smith [WW/P-S’ Todd Smith]; he’s a hilarious guy. I hope the West is ready for us. It’s going to be an emotional night for me.”

The emotions ran high this past fall for Simpson and his teammates as PHS tied for the CVC’s Valley Division title and qualified for the state tournament for the first time since 1993.

“It was so great to achieve those goals,” said Simpson. “We worked so hard; we deserved to make it. I can’t explain how happy we were to come out and achieve those goals.”

Simpson worked hard to become a force on the offensive line, beginning with his sophomore year when he broke into the starting lineup.

“It was a leap, it was like jumping into the big leagues,” recalled Simpson.

“It was just a lot to learn; it was a lot of hard work. I had a lot of team support; not one person can do it. A lot of the older guys helped me out; they influenced me.”

Simpson and his classmates tried to be a good influence as they prepared for their last high school campaign.

“We had a mindset; we worked so hard for the season,” said Simpson. “We were working hard starting in the summer; we went to camps at Rutgers and TCNJ.”

PHS head football coach Steve Everette helped Simpson and his teammates keep their nose to the grindstone.

“Coach Everette helped us out; he’s a tough coach but it pays off,” said Simpson.

“He has us work on the little things and that helps us get the most out of ourselves.”

Simpson applied that detailed approach as he took part in the Culinary Arts program the last two years through the Mercer County Technical Schools.

“It was like learning to run a restaurant,” said Simpson, who developed his love of cooking by helping his parents in the kitchen as a kid.

“We ran a dining hall at lunch; we did banquets for 150. We learned about setting up, introducing ourselves. It’s a lot more than just the cooking part.”

As a result of his involvement in that program, Simpson decided to forego the opportunity to play college football.

“In my junior year, I was getting some schools interested in my football but I decided to go for the CIA,” said Simpson, who plans to someday own and run a restaurant.

“My mom said if you find something that you love, you should stick with it. I love cooking.”

And this Wednesday, Simpson would love to end his football career on a high note with a big performance at the Sunshine game.

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