BTTV: 2016 Intro to Shurod Thompson
BERKELEY -- Here's the thing about baby deer: Other than being delicious, they're also gangly and awkward. But, when Bambi grows into his antlers and stops hanging around with rabbits with nervous ticks, he can run, jump and joust.
Right now, Pittsburg (Calif.) 2016 athlete Shurod Thompson is a baby deer. He still has aspirations of being a receiver – and his hands are fair enough at that position – but on Sunday, in one of the few reps he took as a safety, there was a flash. He instinctively sunk low into his hips, kept his chest and eyes up, read a developing play and halted 6-foot-2, 210-pound El Cerrito (Calif.) receiver Adarius Powe in his tracks.
His coach Manny Chavez smiled and smacked his hands together. That is what he's seen in the 6-foot-1, 185-pound Thompson. That is what makes Thompson such an intriguing prospect.
Thompson has long, loose arms, a smooth gait and loose hips, but he's very, very raw. He's an athlete who happens to play football, not yet a football player. He's also a bit tentative, owing to the fact that he's not been playing football for very long. He doesn't have finely-honed instincts, but every few plays, he shows that somewhere in there is a strong sense of where to be and what to do.
"I like both receiver and safety," Thompson said. "Playing as a freshman, I was a little slower. Varsity is a little faster. You've got to pay attention. You've got to play angry -- fast and angry."
While Thompson played receiver during California's one-day camp on June 9, and mostly receiver this past weekend, he knows that his future is on the other side of the ball.
"You've just got to keep your feet moving, stay light on your feet," Thompson said, of what he learned from Bears defensive backs coach Randy Stewart.
Sometimes, though, Thompson -- who runs a 4.6 40 -- admits he trips over his own feet, as he grows into his body.
"I really want to get in the end zone, make some big hits and just play better every day, never be satisfied," Thompson said of his goals for next season. "My routes have to get better, and I have to keep my feet moving."
Thompson currently has a 3.2 GPA.
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