Wolfpack Eyeing Virginia Standout

Damien Thigpen looks to be one of Virginia's top prospects for 2009. Pack Pride has the latest.

The other half of Stonewall Jackson High School's (Manassas, VA) dynamic running back duo turned in a solid performance at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Junior Combine earlier this month. While it wasn't his best showing, 5-9 speedster Damien Thigpen did post one of the faster 40-yard dash times at the event.

"When he was there, he didn't realize that he was one of the top 50 performers," said Stonewall Jackson head coach Loren Johnson, who also boasted 4-star senior running back Ryan Williams. "I knew his running was going to be an eye-opener, though."

Thigpen ran a 4.54-second 40 at the event. In the past, he has been clocked in under 4.4 seconds. He ran a sub-4.4 40 at last June's National Underclassmen Combine, when he posted a time of 4.38 seconds. At the NUC, he also posted a vertical jump of 31 inches and benched 150 pounds 20 times.

If it were not for an injury that kept him out of three-and-a-half games this past season, the talented junior would likely have more than one scholarship offer.

"It does hurt, but Damien is a young man that will be all right no matter what," Johnson said. "He enjoys challenges. He also runs track and may end up with more track offers than football offers by the beginning of his senior year, but I think it will eventually even out."

The lone offer is from Stanford, but more offers could be on the way in the next month.

"N.C. State and Connecticut are coming on strong. They are talking about offering next month," Johnson said. "UVa has mentioned something. So has Maryland. He has a ton of interest letters.

"I think some people are concerned about his height, but he plays bigger than what he is. At running back, he is only 5-9, 170 pounds. Those guys on the next level take a beating. As a corner, he is in a lot better shape but I don't know if some coaches project him as a corner. As a receiver, he has never played that position for us. We have put him out there on occasion in certain sets, but other than that he hasn't played there. I think it would take time to develop him there on the next level."

At running back, he rushed for 632 yards and 7 touchdowns on 79 carries last season. He averaged 10 yards per carry as a sophomore. At cornerback, he had 8 pass break-ups. On special teams, Thigpen blocked three kicks and was a successful return man as well.

"He could definitely be a returner in college," Johnson said. "He has returned kicks for touchdowns for us in his career. Nobody kicks it to him. He does an excellent job there for us."

At this point, Thigpen does not have any favorites. He is waiting to see which offers come his way.

"He is originally from the South, so he'd probably be interested if some schools down there offered," Johnson said. "Other than that, he is open right now."


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