2008 Focus: Eric Thompson

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Independence High School is North Carolina's top football program, and this year the "Big I" has a load of Division-I prospects.

It's no surprise that head coach Tommy Knotts has a roster stocked with quality players. To win 108 consecutive games, you need great coaching and great players.

"We have several of our rising seniors drawing a lot of attention," said coach Knotts. "Coaches are calling about a lot of our kids."

Indy's top prospect is likely Mario Carter. Carter, a 6-foot-6, 240-pound tight end, already has offers from NC State, South Carolina, Virginia, and Clemson, and he has narrowed his list to the Wolfpack and Gamecocks. Tailback Rod Chisholm was one of the most productive backs in the state, and he is receiving attention from North Carolina and NC State. Cornerback Makiri Pugh has an offer from Duke, and wideout Javon Rembert is also on the radar.

With that being said, none of them were the first player mentioned by Knotts when asked about his rising seniors. The head coach of the seven-time defending state champs raved about his top offensive lineman, Eric Thompson.

"The guy you need to be talking to is Eric Thompson," said Knotts. "I think he's a great player, and a lot of schools are watching him."

At 6-foot-4 and 270-pounds, Thompson has started the two past seasons for Independence, anchoring the line of the state's most explosive offensive attack. He has enjoyed the success he has had at the school.

"It has been exciting," said Thompson. "Last season especially at the end of when we played teams like Butler. We were pumped and ready. It was just exciting to win another championship."

Thompson hopes to end his prep career with another state championship.

"I've been playing since my 10th grade year so this is going to be my last season," he said. "We're going to be ready. I do know that. We've got some good players again, and we're going to be ready for the season."

Like most players at Independence, Thompson is already focusing on a couple of programs in hopes of landing offers. He hasn't shut the door on other schools, but it appears that he wants to remain in-state.

"The two schools really looking at me are North Carolina State and the University of North Carolina," said Thompson. "I'm really interested in North Carolina State. I'm trying to get a visit up there."

NC State has the early lead.

"North Carolina State is at the top," Thompson stated. "I love the facilities, and I love their new coaching staff. I really like what I hear about coach O'Brien. I hear that he doesn't tolerate any messing around and I like that."

Like with most prospects who haven't earned early offers from the Wolfpack, the coaching staff informed Thompson that they would like for him to attend their camp for further evaluation.

"They want me to come up to their camp this summer so they can evaluate me some more," he said. "They also want me to put on some more weight so that's what I've been trying to do."

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