The Atlanta Falcons continue to make changes to their coaching staff, and they have added a defensive assistant who had a short stint in the college ranks.
Jess Simpson will be named Atlanta’s defensive assistant to the defensive line, according to source close to the situation. He will work alongside defensive line coach Bryant Young, who was hired as the Falcons’ defensive line coach Friday after Bryan Cox was relieved of his duties.
Simpson makes the jump after recently assuming a role as defensive line coach at Georgia State. He was with the Panthers for two months and stayed with the program through National Signing Day as a recruiter of the northern Atlanta area.
Simpson was at the helm for 11 seasons at Buford, leading the program to a 164-12 record and seven GHSA championships.
Prior to taking the head coaching job at Buford, Simpson worked under Dexter Wood as an assistant and won three more state championships alongside him. After giving the reins to Simpson, Wood remained involved in the program as the school’s athletics director and has seen the growth of the soon-to-be NFL assistant.
“We are so excited here in Buford,” he said. “It is so remarkable for any high school coach to be able to go straight from high school to the pros. Never heard of it in my 42 years. Jess gets to go to the Super Bowl runner-up and to a pro job just 15 minutes from where he lives. How does that happen? A truly remarkable accomplishment.
“I never thought coaching in the NFL could happen this quickly for him. But I have no doubts that he will be a great defensive line coach for Atlanta. Of all his gifts as a leader and head coach over his many years in high school, the thing he knew best and coached best was his defensive linemen. He is a football genius (with) technique and skill development.”
In addition to firing Cox, the Falcons fired defensive coordinator Richard Smith, who recently landed with the San Diego Chargers. Smith was replaced by Marquand Manuel, who was promoted from defensive backs coach with Doug Mallory filling that vacancy.
The Falcons lost to New England 34-28 in Super Bowl LI after leading 28-3. Atlanta had 34 sacks this season, which ranked in the top half of the league.