Florida Connection Leads ISU to JUCO CB

Throughout the past few weeks Iowa State's interest has peaked with a JUCO All-American defensive back, who has some very close ties to one of the Cyclones' 19 commitments for the Class of 2003.

The Cyclones' letters of correspondence did not mean much to strong safety Jamie Thompson as he went about his business leading Butler County (Kan.) to a Jayhawk Conference championship, 10-2 overall record and sixth ranking nationally.

It wasn't until recently ISU's staff became heavily involved with the 6-foot, 190-pounder, who attended North Marion High School in Citra, Fla., the same program that running back commitment Mike West starred for this season.

"Iowa State is in my top three choices for schools right now," said Thompson, who will take his official visit to Ames this weekend. "They picked up on me after they came to my high school and saw one of my high school tapes while recruiting Mike West.

"I was playing in junior college and they started recruiting me out of junior college while I was home for Christmas break. They were sending me letters when I was in junior college, but I wasn't getting any calls or anything. I've got a visit set up for this weekend."

In order to learn more about his newest suitor, Thompson has relied on his former high school coach and West, who committed to the Cyclones in early December.

"I'd like to find out about the school's academics and how the football team is," he said. "I've caught them on TV a few times and my coach has been telling me about them. The coaches and Mike have informed me on how the school is. I'll find out for myself this weekend."

Thompson said his three favorites at this point are Big 12 schools, with Arkansas and Texas Christian also in the running.

"I wouldn't rank them, because they all seem the same to me," he said. "But the coaches from Iowa State are very good people. Everybody on the coaching staff has talked to me. That's a big part in recruiting me—getting to know everyone. Some schools just let you talk to the people that are recruiting you. At Iowa State they let you talk to every one of the coaches. They're good people and joke around with you."

Although he has already attained his A.A. degree, Thompson won't enroll at a D-I institution until the fall to give himself more time to choose a program. When he does enroll, he will have three seasons of eligibility over a three-year span.

"I'm going to wait and enroll in the fall, so I have some time to make a decision," he said. "I'm going to weigh all my options and will probably announce the week after my last visit. I already went on my Oklahoma State visit last weekend, and I still have Iowa State coming up."

He also appears headed to Arkansas and TCU in the weeks following his official visit to ISU.

The North Marion product switched from cornerback to strong safety in junior college, and after redshirting the 2001 season recorded 60 tackles and three interceptions last fall. He was one of three Butler County defenders to earn All-American honors, as Gridwire and the NJCAA named him a second-teamer.

"I'm being recruited at strong safety," Thompson said. "I'm a physical person and can hit hard like a safety, and I cover like a corner. I played corner in high school and picked up safety."

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