AITKIN– We find ourselves in the heart of Gobbler county again as we chat with 2021 NFN prospect Joey Simonson of the Aitkin Gobblers football program. We chatted with Simonson about his football journey, his recruiting interest, and much more!
Get to Know Joey Simonson
Simonson is a two-way player for the Gobbler of Aitkin at tight end and defensive end. He’s a two year starter at both positions going into the 2020 season. Unfortunately, after two games in his junior season, after playing thru a ton of pain Simonson was lost for most of his junior season due to stress fractures in which he returned for one of the Gobblers playoff games. At the tight end position, Simonson takes great pride in his blocking abilities with a goal of winning on every block he gets and his ability to be a pass catcher which is something that’s been rather “untapped” during his time with the Gobblers. Simonson has good hands and has been working hard on improving his speed and agility coming back from his stress fractures injury he suffered last season. Although Simonson started his last couple seasons at wide receiver, his Gobblers coaching staff looks to use him even more in tight end packages in future 2020 football season. On the defensive side of the ball, Simonson has some more untapped strengths with his ability to hit the speed button once the ball is snapped and reading the blocking schemes the offensive linemen are showing. Simonson said this year is about improving himself and the others around him as well.
Favorite Parts About Tight End and Defensive End
At the tight end position, Simonson’s favorites are making holes from the guys that play behind him and getting the possibility to catch a football in the open field. His 6’3 205 pound frame makes him a sturdy option in any receiving package the Gobblers run. At defensive end, Simonson said he loves to “battle the guy in front of you” in which if he’s successful that will turn into a sack, tackle for a loss, or filling an a gap in which the ball carrier runs into one of his Gobblers teammates and gets stuffed.
College Interest/His Pitch to College Coaches
Simonson’s size makes him a versatile threat to play multiple positions at the college level. So far Simonson has head from the Cobbers of Concordia-Moorhead and the Dragons of Minnesota State-Moorhead as well making Simonson quite popular with the two college football programs from the Minnesota/North Dakota border. His pitch to college coaches is all in the dedication and hard work he puts in daily. Simonson dropped his winter sport to focus 20-25 hours a week in the weight room and getting faster and stronger by the day. He has a goal set for August to get to 215 pounds (now at 205) and he’s certainly exceeding expectations and should get to his goal weight no problem to when football practices starts back up.
Improvements for Next Season
Simonson’s coaches told him to focus the offseason on his agility and foot speed. Simonson has been at the Aitkin weight room 6 days a week this offseason and working on speed and agility drills 3 days a week. He’s seen the improvements already and can’t wait to continue to work to see what next season brings for him.
Simonson’s mentor is Gobbler alum Andrew Eklund who was a 2019 graduate of Aitkin High School and was a star on the football team. Eklund had the mentality “showed up, worked hard every day, and provided positive energy for our team” Simonson told Northstar Football News about Eklund, who played in 2019’s Minnesota Football Showcase at US Bank Stadium for the North squad. In any after game scenario, Eklund was a football guy Simonson could go to go over what happened in the game, win or loss to work on getting better game by game.
Learning from Last Season/Senior Season Goals
While watching from the sidelines last season and injured, Simonson really realized how much he loved the game of football even more than before. He’s learned that work ethic is so key in everything he does and he’s trending well upwards in his work ethic this offseason, as he’s set a high bar of expectations for himself and his team for next season. The goal for the Gobblers is to accomplish something that hasn’t happened in Aitkin, Minnesota in 30 years and that is to get to #TheBank in Minneapolis for state playoffs. “We’ve put in the work, and have no doubts that we can play with any team from the state” Simonson told NFN about the Gobblers effort to make 2020 their year to make it state. As more of an individual goal, Simonson wants to dominate any opposing player that steps in front of him on the football field. He has above average size and he wants to instill “fear” in his opponents he faces. Simonson has put in the work, and now just needs the rest of the offseason to get stronger, faster than his future competition the Gobblers will play next season.
You can check out Simonson’s Hudl profile in the following link (click here)