In researching Miami, Fla., Central outside linebacker and top Arkansas recruit Donavan Thompson, one thing became very apparent.
There are several images of him leaping to bring down a quarterback, running back or wide receiver.
Thompson (6-0, 215, 4.6), who had a whopping 151 tackles and 14 sacks last season for a team that ended 2014 ranked fifth nationally in the USA Today Super 25, says there is a reason for that.
“I have the mindset as a linebacker that if I don’t make the play, the play is not going to get made and the guy is going to score,” Thompson said. “So if I have to leave my feet to make that play, I am going to do it.
“I just go into every game with the attitude that that winning the game is on my shoulders. And all I care about at the end of the game is winning.”
Thompson, who is being recruited by Arkansas linebacker coach Vernon Hargreaves and defensive coordinator Robb Smith, plans to make an unofficial visit to Fayetteville in early June and an official one in the fall or winter.
He will be accompanied on the summer visit by teammate Keir Thomas, a defensive end already committed to Florida State.
“Arkansas is at the very top of my list because they got on me first, believed in me and have stayed on me,” Thompson said. “Coach Hargreaves is a great guy and he has let me know how much they want me and need me.
“I know Coach Smith had one of the best defenses in the SEC last season and they think they are going to have an even better one this season.”
In addition to the offer from Arkansas, Thompson also has ones from Oregon State, South Florida, Cincinnati, UMass, Toledo and Florida International.
Thompson is of the mind to leave Florida to play his college football.
“I have lived here all my life and it is time for me to get out of the state, grow up on my own and enjoy what some other state has to offer,” Thompson said.
Thompson made an impact right away as a sophomore with 108 tackles, 5 sacks, a trio of fumble recoveries and a pair of interceptions.
He was named a second-team Student Sports Sophomore All-American after that effort.
“I think I just have the mentality and effort required to be a linebacker and I play with no fear,” Thompson said. “I am hungry to make every play.
“I love stuffing the run and feel like I can make plays from side-to-side. I do want to get better in pass coverage and that is what I am working on now.”
Miami Central went 15-1 last season while winning its third straight Class 6A state title and its fourth in five season – finishing runner-up the other season.
Central then downed Bothell, WA., 37-27 as part of the inaugural Burger King State Champions Bowl Series at Florida Atlantic University.
“We had a great season, but our school and program goes into every season with the goal of winning the state title or else,” Thompson said. “It will be the same way this season.”