Thompson, now a rising senior, happily sports the nickname bestowed upon him by former Clemson defensive tackle Jock McKissic.
"I love my name," Thompson said at the ACC Football Kickoff on Sunday. "It means something to me. I wouldn't trade it for nothing."
The nickname was discovered when the 300-pound men were talking about something very near and dear to their hearts.
Food ... you know, the munchies they love, and the delicacies they happily pass along to the next person at the table.
"I'm a southern boy, but I don't like yams," Thompson said.
Hence the name.
Yams, err Thompson, describes himself as "a dominant, run stuffing defender, who is going to get back there to the quarterback and wreak havoc on the inside."
CBSSports.com recently named him the No. 1 defensive tackle prospect for next year's NFL Draft.
"I feel like that title means a lot. But, at the same time, it means nothing," Thompson said. "It's not about how you start. It's about how you finish. I'm just going to go into this season the same way I go into every season.
"I want it. I want to be the best. I practice like it and I prepare for it."
This fall, Thompson could play more 0-technique, directly over the center. When defensive coordinator Kevin Steele makes those three-man front calls, Thompson will be asked to occupy two gaps.
It's a sweet deal for him. He prefers the position.
"It just comes natural," Thompson said. "I played it a little bit in high school. When I came here, I just fell in love with it."
Not only will there be times when he'll asked to occupy multiple gaps, Thompson must also play a greater role in leading Clemson in 2011.
He accepted the challenge in the spring and has continued with it through the fall.
"We've been working. We have our leaders. We push. The boys respond well. We're just going to continue to push, and see how we end up," Thompson said.
Yep, it's Yams
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