Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Top 2015 target asks UGA how to commit
By Radi Nabulsi
ATHENS, Ga. -- Last year, the Peach State produced the nation’s top two overall prospects in defensive ends Robert Nkemdiche and Carl Lawson. The Georgia Bulldogs saw both leave the state and play in the SEC West. This year, Lorenzo Carter is the state’s top defensive prospect, yet Georgia trails Florida on Carter’s list of top schools. While Carter admits that he is not close to a decision, the thought of losing the talented defensive end to the Gators has Georgia fans worried. Five-star inside linebacker Raekwon McMillan is also giving the Bulldogs’ faithful fits with his talk of Ohio State.
The Bulldogs could still land both Carter and McMillan in the six months before signing day. So the hand-wringing is a bit premature. But that doesn’t stop Georgia fans from repeatedly asking about why Georgia landing these top defensive players?
The 6-foot-4, 284-pound defensive lineman from Westover (Ga.) High School was just named the No. 5 overall player in the nation for the Class of 2015. And while he says he plans to “wait out” his recruitment, all signs so far point to him being a Bulldog. Take his last visit for instance when he attended the Mark Richt minicamp in June. The Georgia coaches were all over him and the hugs and smiles made it look as if he were already a Bulldog.
“I asked them, ‘How can I commit?’ ” Thompson said. “Mark Richt said, ‘Tell me you want to be a Dawg.’ I was like OK. I almost did it that day.”
The state’s No. 2 player for 2015, Thompson is a top priority for the coaches and felt it while he was at the camp.
“It went really great.” Thompson said. “I ran like a 4.9 40-yard dash. I was really excited about that. I weigh about 290-294. The coaches were really surprised. Coach Mark Richt spent the most time with me. We talked for a long time in his office. Then I went down and did some drills with Coach [Chris] Wilson. I stayed with him a long time too. He is going to be the one to push me if I do go there.”
While Richt and Wilson worked on Thompson in Athens, it is offensive coordinator Mike Bobo that is doing the heavy lifting as Thompson’s primary recruiter.
“That is my favorite coach.” Thompson said. “Every time that I call him he always tells me jokes and stuff. He came down here a lot.”
Bobo has a strategy in place which targets South Georgia’s top players, especially the ones that live in the 229 area code like Thompson.
“When I went to Georgia there was an article and it said Coach Bobo was in the 229 already,” Thompson said. “I liked that. My mom went to Georgia on G-Day. She liked it a lot. She said they are No. 1. She said she is going to come to all the games.”
Thompson has 11 offers so far but his top group at the moment is “Georgia, Florida State and Tennessee.”
“Georgia is No. 1 by a big margin.” Thompson said. “The main two are Georgia and Florida State. Florida State is so close to me.”
Thompson and his mother recently toured Auburn as well.
“I liked Auburn too.” Thompson said. “They had my jersey ready and everything when I went up there. They wanted me to take a picture with the championship trophy. They said they are losing a lot of people and want me to be one of their top recruits.”
A versatile lineman, Thompson is being looked at for multiple positions.
“Ole Miss wants me to play everything.” Thompson said. “Tennessee wants me to play the three [technique]. Georgia wants me to play defensive end. Auburn wants me to play end and defensive tackle. Florida State wants me to play end and nose. I like to play the three and the end.”
While Thompson says a lot of people think he has already committed to Georgia, he insists that is not true.
“I will probably make a decision at the end of my junior season.” Thompson said. “I want to take some out of state visits next summer. I want to go to Florida and Mississippi State. You know I am going to keep going to Georgia. I couldn’t make it to Dawg Night since I had a FCA camp for three days before that and I was tired. But I am going to a Georgia game this year and a Florida State game and one at Auburn.”