By Tim Linafelt
Seminoles.com Senior Writer
@Tim_Linafelt on Twitter
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The insular, hyper-focused world of modern college football doesn’t often allow players and coaches to pause and reflect on life outside of the locker room.
But a chance encounter on Monday reminded a few Florida State football players of what a far-reaching impact they have.
Corey Clark of the Tallahassee Democrat earlier this week wrote about Jayse Simpson, a 17-year-old high school junior from nearby Perry, Fla.
Simpson, a lifelong FSU fan, attended the Seminoles’ 20-17 victory over Boston College last weekend but started to not feel well soon after.
He was born with a rare heart defect, which led Simpson’s mother, Deidra Newman, to take him to a hospital in Jacksonville for tests.
A potentially bad day was made better thanks to a few members of the Seminole football team. Amos Benjamin, an assistant strength coach at FSU, caught wind of Simpson’s story and had an idea.
He made his way out to the FSU practice fields, where the team was beginning to warm up, with his iPhone.
One by one, Benjamin approached a few Seminoles and asked them to visit with Simpson via the iPhone’s FaceTime video calling feature.
They were happy to say yes.
“I was out there warming up, me and (punter) Cason (Beatty),” FSU kicker Roberto Aguayo said. “(Benjamin) told me all about it. And, talking to (Simpson), I feel like me and Cason brightened his day.”
Simpson’s phone continued to ring throughout the afternoon. He received calls from Cameron Erving, Jameis Winston and his favorite player, Bobo Wilson, among others.
“Each and every player called at just the right time,” Newman said in a Facebook post.
“And they had just the right words, making sure he knew they were his family for life and they were here for him and helped him understand what they do to get through adversity and pain on and off the field.”
Simpson’s story has a happy ending, too. According to the Democrat, Simpson’s test results allowed him to go home that day. He’ll have an already-scheduled heart procedure done early next month.
“It’s always good to be able to put some good, a smile, some cheer in somebody’s life,” Erving said. “We weren’t on FaceTime long, but you could tell he was a very happy person.”
Erving said his chat with Simpson reaffirmed just much he and his teammates mean to their fans. And how much they mean to him.
“It makes you appreciate the fans and the support that we have,” Erving said. “And it makes us appreciate ourselves and what we do more.
“Because regardless of what somebody else is going through, this sport, this team, this school gives them hope and it gives them something positive to look up to.”