Texas fans were excited when four-star prospect Kendall Thompson committed to the Longhorns in late February and they had reason to be as the nation’s 14th ranked middle linebacker was a big pickup.
Thompson and several of his Carthage (Texas) teammates were in action on Thursday at the Texas State 7-on-7 and Scout.com was on hand for the action.
While you can’t get a thorough evaluation of a prospect in a 7-on-7 setting it’s even tougher to evaluate a linebacker for several reasons – he doesn’t have to make tackles and he doesn’t have to shed blocks which are two main criteria for a linebacker to be successful.
Still, we were able to see some of the qualities that have Texas coaches and fans so excited about Thompson and the future.
Thompson says that he’s 6-4, 225 pounds. We’ll give him 225 pounds but he’s closer to the 6-2 to 6-3 range which is still good for a middle linebacker or even a defensive end in the right scheme.
Thompson showed that he can drop and defend the pass and he made one nice play that really stood out as he made his drop and went right then realized there was a man in the left flat. He quickly planted and changed directions then accelerated nicely to step in front of the receiver and make a one-handed interception that he took to the house.
On several other occasions Thompson showed good closing speed in getting to receivers and you could see a little more of a burst than he gets credit for.
The big question that some have is whether he is going to play in the middle for the Horns or come off the edge?
That is something that only the Texas coaching staff will answer but Thompson has a lot of what you want in a backer. He is solid at getting off blocks and has very good instincts. Seldom do you see him off his feet. He is also very physical and plays with a little mean streak which you want to see. That can all be seen on film.
Thompson also has good feet and he moves well laterally. He is fluid for a middle linebacker in going one way then changing directions and showing some explosion. That was some of what we saw on day one in College Station.
While there is a lot to like with Thompson there was also one thing that stood out as something that he needs to continue to work on which is his short area quickness. Of course, there are more things he needs to continue to improve on like all high school football players but in today’s 7-on-7 setting there were a lot of positives and very few negatives with one of Texas’ top commitments for 2011.