Its Good To Be First

By: Jeff Doke news services

It’s good to be first. Jaylin Simpson has known that feeling several times already in his young life.

As a student athlete at Frederica Academy, he saw several firsts. Playing QB, he led the football team to its first AAA championship in the program’s eighth year of existence.

When it was all said and done, he wound up with 27 career TD passes and 17 rushing TDs in his time “Under the Oaks”.

On the defensive side of the ball, Simpson notched 13 INTs and 138 total tackles, garnering All Region and All State laurels for his efforts.

Off the gridiron, he secured two state championships in Track & Field, bringing further glory to the green and white.

After graduation, he became one of the first Frederica alums to play football in the Power 5 conferences when he and teammate Jashawn Sheffield went to the SEC and became Auburn Tigers.

In his five years On The Plains, the numbers kept adding up. He racked up 118 total tackles and seven career interceptions – including an absolute beauty against Carson Beck and the Georgia Bulldogs in 2023. He was named to the 1st Team All SEC squad by the Associated Press, was a Jim Thorpe Award semi-finalist, and played in the Reese’s Senior Bowl.

Not bad for a kid from Brunswick, GA who was told he was spoiling his chances for greatness by going to a private school campus of around 400 total students in the K-12 years.

The next logical step would of course be fulfilling the dream of playing in the NFL.

Of course, there were doubters and naysayers as there have always been, but Jaylin knew he had what it takes.

At the 2024 NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Simpson posted an impressive 39.5 vertical leap and a speedy 4.45 second 40-yard dash. At the combine, his brother and UCF Assistant Director of Player Personnel Alex Mathis told him “this town suits you.”

How prophetic that would turn out to be, as there was another first on the horizon.

On the third day of the 2024 NFL draft, Jaylin was selected 164th overall by the Indianapolis Colts, thus making him the first Frederica Knight to be drafted in the NFL.

“I’m just ready to get to work and continue to show why I feel like I was one of the best in this draft. I’ve got to prove still, so I’m just ready to get to work in Indy,” Simpson said during a interview.

And work he will. It’s what he’s done his entire playing career, bringing what he refers to as his “Plankton mentality” to the big leagues.

That term might sound familiar to fans of the long-running animated series “SpongeBob SquarePants,” but a lot of people get it wrong much to the chagrin of Simpson.

“People get it confused and it makes me mad. They say, ‘oh he never got the formula,’ but it’s not about that,” he explained in an interview with

“It’s about every time you turn on an episode, he’s trying again. It doesn’t matter how many times he gets knocked down, he’s gonna keep trying. That’s all that matters. He’ll do anything to get what he wants and what I want is a win, so I’m gonna do what I can.”

Plankton mentality has gotten him this far, and now the Frederica faithful get to watch one of their own playing on Sundays. Sounds like wins all around from my point of view.