Ty Thompson interview
What schools are you going to officially visit?
"I just visited South Florida. I'm scheduled to visit LSU. My coach will let me know when I am going to visit Mississippi State. I've already (officially) visited Iowa State and UConn. I've been to Tennessee on an unofficial and I've been to Pittsburgh on an unofficial." (His coach also told me that Louisville is a school that he was scheduled to visit.-Gene
How did you get involved with UConn?
"It was far from home but it sounded like they had a running back situation. They are in a running back bind right now because their starting tailback hurt his knee or something like that and they are looking for someone to step in and play. And I'm very interested in playing. They asked me to come up and see if I liked it. There was a lot of snow and boy it was super cold!"
What is it about Iowa State that you like?
"It is cold there, too. I met all the coaches; they were some of the first that were interested in me. They have been there throughout the entire recruiting process. I met the head coach, the recruiting coordinator and the running back coach before I even went up there. I like the fact that instead of talking to the recruiting coach from my area, I was talking to the running back coach. I like their offense and a lot of other stuff."
You just got back from your visit to South Florida. What do you like about them?
"They are about 45 minutes from my home. And they have a (running back) situation, too, that will allow me a lot of playing time. It is a chance to start for them. They are a close network of people. They are winning games fast. On top of that, they are moving into a different conference, the Big East, I think. They have a new, big facility they are building right now just for football players, football academics. They have a lot going for them."
What are your thoughts about LSU?
"That was my official offer. They just won a championship, man. To me, they are a real fast-paced team. And they play in one of the loudest stadiums in the world. You go in there and it is a big football atmosphere. The whole school is focused on football. They don't have a real good basketball team, it's just football. I like that. They told me that I would come up there not as a running back but in the slot. I could also play at running back but they are like three-deep at running back right now. That's the only reason I didn't commit to them."
What do you think about Mississippi State?
"I was up there at Tennessee on an unofficial visit and I was with Coach Pendergrass the entire time. He is cool. He talked about the good and the bad of Tennessee. He wasn't the type to sell his school; he was just going to give you the facts. He wasn't going to sugarcoat it and hide anything from me. He told me about the running backs and what year they were in. He told me about the dudes they were recruiting. When he went to Mississippi State, my coach got in touch with him about me."
You've got a lot of scholarship offers. What are some other schools that have offered you that we haven't talked about?
"Tennessee and Arkansas. We had an offer from Florida but I don't know if it is still there. I got one from Texas A&M. Pittsburgh, Clemson and Troy State offered. It seems like at the last minute everybody is coming at me."
Head Coach Casey Vaughn interview
Tell me a little about a player of yours, running back Ty Thompson.
"He just made first-team All-State today. He is a 4.4 guy who has tremendous vision. When he gets a football in his hands, he can do things a normal back can't do. He's not just a flyer; he has great hips and good hands. You have those guys who are power runners and can run through people. He can do that. But you have guys who can stop on a dime and then accelerate. That is Ty. When he gets a hole and he has somebody in front of him, that guy is history. He's one of those guys who doesn't quit."
How long has he started for you?
"He's been at our school his junior and senior years."
How did he do stats-wise this past year?
"He went over 2,000 yards rushing, averaged 6.9 yards per carry and had 24 or 25 touchdowns."
How many games did you play?
"We played 11, including the Classic. However, he had those yards in 10 regular season games. He was up to 2,100 to 2,200 if you count the Classic, which you can't count."
How did he do last season?
"He had 1,900 yards and was right at 2,400 all-purpose yards. He did some receiving. We put him in a slot. He also returned some kicks."
What schools is he showing interest in?
"He has a bunch. He's got a ton of (scholarship) offers. I know he has narrowed his visits to USF (1/9), Iowa State (12/12), Louisville, Mississippi State (1/16 or 1/30), of course and LSU (1/23). He has already been to Iowa State. (He also visited Connecticut on 12/5.-Gene). I know Tennessee was on him but they came off because he wouldn't commit. Clemson's on him now. There are a lot of schools that he told no to because he decided they weren't for him. We've had schools come in from the West Coast that said they wanted to see if he was interested but they said they really didn't think they would get a shot at him because they felt he was going to stay in the Southeast. They are probably pretty much right, although Iowa State has come in and done a really good job recruiting him.
Obviously, he can play several positions. What position does he want to play in college?
"He wants to play tailback. A lot of people want to put him at receiver, but he has pretty much put those schools out. A number of schools have been straight up with him and told him that they want to play him at cornerback. They have even offered him. He said he wants to go to a school that is going to let him run the football. When he comes in, he really wants a shot at running back first. Then he said he will play anywhere."
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page (http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com), the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports and Mississippi high school sports on the internet. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.