Coach Jason Wallace is enters his second year as the head coach for the Falcons after serving two years as defensive coordinator. The personable Wallace has had the chance to see Erroll Thompson develop from hopeful freshman into one of the nation's top inside linebackers.
"He has been a special player for us," Wallace said of Thompson. "He is very versatile and he has a high motor. He plays with discipline and he plays with passion. He has been a big part of our defensive success."
One of the things that jumps out about Thompson on film is the violent nature of his tackling style. Wallace reports that Thompson has seen some skill refinement over his career, but that Thompson's ability to bring the pain appears to have been God given.
"He has been like that every since I have known him," Wallace said. "I have known him since he was in the 8th or 9th grade and he was striking people back then. He has always been a striker."
Several schools extended scholarship offers to the three star middle linebacker, but Wallace reports that the staff at Mississippi State worked extremely hard to earn Thompson's verbal commitment.
"I think Mississippi State did a great job recruiting him," Wallace said. "They captured his attention early. They have always been in the hunt. They haven't always been number one, but they were always in it.
"It really wasn't long after he met Coach (Manny) Diaz, Coach (Dan) Mullen and the rest of the guys on that staff that he came back and told me that Mississippi State was home. He said it just felt like home.
"I asked him about a lot of other places and he said he felt good there, but when he went to Mississippi State he just felt at home.
"He told me a few months back that he felt that way about them, but that he wanted to take some time to evaluate everything, speak with his family about it and pray about it. Once he did all of that, he was ready to make a decision."
Thompson has played on both sides of the ball during his high school career, but projects as a defensive starter on the college level. Currently listed as a middle linebacker, the rising senior could end up with his hand on the ground in the long term.
"He is versatile and can do whatever they need," Wallace said. "I know he is talented enough to play whatever they need him to play. He's 6-2, 250 and can really run. I think he has great instincts as a linebacker and I think he understands things a little better, because of his background at running back.
"He was running back until last year, so he sees things other linebackers don't see. He can see holes open and he can see holes close, because of his experience on that side of the football. I think he can do whatever they need him to do and I am excited for him."