2019 SLU Athletics Hall of Fame Class Profile No. 2: Simmie Yarborough
This Saturday, the Southeastern Louisiana Athletics Hall of Fame will add four members. Leading up to Saturday, LionSports.net will profile each new inductee.
HAMMOND, La. – Ask former Southeastern Louisiana wide receiver Simmie Yarborough to describe his success during his Hall of Fame playing career, he’ll tell you it was a case of right place, right time.
Those lucky enough to see him rack up record-breaking numbers on the gridiron for the Lions from 2008-11 know that the Brookaven, Mississippi native’s prodigious talent was also a huge factor. But Yarborough’s nod toward circumstance is indicative of the quiet humility that he represented Southeastern with throughout his record-setting career.
“I never saw myself as a spectacular player,” Yarborough commented. “I was just put in the right position. I was fortunate that my coaches trusted in what I could do. Being in the Hall of Fame is something I didn’t think could happen. I’m honored to be a part of such an exclusive group.”
Perhaps no Lion since the program returned from an 18-year hiatus prior to the 2003 season was more consistent than Yarborough. A four-time All-Southland Conference and three-time All-Louisiana selection during his SLU career, he sits atop the program’s all-time leaderboard with 229 receptions, 2,780 receiving yards and 30 receiving touchdowns. At the conclusion of his time in Hammond, Yarborough held the Southland record for receptions – a mark he held until last season.
After earning conference and state Freshman of the Year recognition in 2008, Yarborough was the team’s leading receiver in each of his final three seasons. He hauled in 57 catches for 803 yards and 12 touchdowns as a sophomore, following that with a 60-catch season that yielded 709 yards and nine touchdowns as a junior.
He was named first team All-Southland Conference as a senior, grabbing a career-high 61 passes for 778 yards and three touchdowns. Yarborough is only player in school history with multiple seasons ranked in the program’s top five in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
Yarborough’s road to the Hall of Fame started during a track practice at Brookhaven High School. Then-SLU assistant coach Allen Rudolph recruited the area and instantly made Yarborough feel comfortable. A visit to campus solidified his decision to be a Lion.
“The players embraced me during my recruiting visit and the coaches let me know I was valued, but without pressuring me to make a decision,” Yarborough said. “Those factors, combined with SLU being an hour from home made it an easy decision.”
Yarborough’s favorite on-field memory during his time in the green and gold doubles as one of the post-2003 era of Lion football’s most memorable contests – a 51-50 win at Texas State during the 2009 season in which Yarborough caught seven passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns.
“We were down 24 points with 11 minutes to go and were able to come back and win,” Yarborough recalled. “I shed tears after that game.”
The Lions’ never-say-die attitude in the win over the Bobcats was a microcosm of the biggest lesson Yarborough learned during his time playing for former SLU head coach Mike Lucas.
“Coach Lucas was right we said that in the process of winning football games, we become better men,” Yarborough said. “Football prepares you for life. When times are tough in both in football and life, you quickly find out what kind of man you are.”
Post-playing career, Yarborough has been able to pass on those lessons. While his day job is selling automobiles in his current hometown of Mobile, Alabama, he also coaches a youth football team.
“I grew up in a single-parent home and my coaches were my father figures,” Yarborough said. “A lot of these young kids on my team are in similar situations. I’m honored to be able to give back what was given to me.”
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