Thorpe Thinks About WR

Last April, Justin Thorpe came to South Bend for Notre Dame's Adidas camp. The Varina High (Richmond, Va.) quarterback, and one of the best athletes in the recruiting class of 2008, came away impressed with a school he already had a keen interest in.

"I love Notre Dame, I grew up watching Notre Dame," Thorpe said. The Irish coaching staff likes the 6-foot-1, 180-pound Thorpe enough to send him letter a day. "The Rudy movie, watching them on TV, everything. I love the colors because they are my high school colors, so it wouldn't be a big change.

"I love coach (Charlie) Weis, mainly his offense. I heard his offense is real complex and I look forward to learning that playbook.

"When I visited the campus, I loved it. The stadium. The weight room, it was magnificent, there wasn't even a speck of dirt on the floor, it was so tidy."

Thorpe's game is pretty fresh too, and assistant coach Blanda Wolfe compares him to former Varina High quarterback Michael Robinson. However, Thorpe won't be leading any teams to a Bowl Championship Series game as a quarterback. He will be playing receiver on the next level.

"It's hard to be compared to Michael Robinson since he is in the NFL," Thorpe stated. He said he ran a 4.57 40-yard dash at a Penn State camp last spring. "I think he was more of a powerful quarterback after he scrambled. I'm more of a shiftier runner after I scramble."

This past season, Thorpe completed 74-of-130 passes for 1,271 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also ran for 219 yards on 98 carries, with 11 more touchdowns, directing Varina High's multiple-spread offense.

"We try to get our best athlete and put him at quarterback," Wolfe said.

Thorpe was set to play receiver this past season. As a sophomore, he caught 11 passes for 180 yards and three touchdowns. Starting quarterback Davon Morgan, a Virginia Tech commit got hurt the first game of the season and Thorpe filled the void, leading Varinna High to an 11-2 record.

Thorpe doesn't have any offers yet, but is garnering the most attention from Notre Dame. He is also getting quite a bit of mail from Michigan, Virginia Tech, Florida and Florida State.

"I got a letter from Nebraska the other day," he said. "It's a whole lot of schools, it would take me awhile to name them all."

At camps and combines, Thorpe takes an opportunity to check out the quarterbacks before making his way over to the receivers.

"The quarterbacks at those camps, they're unbelievable," Thorpe said. "I couldn't see myself competing as a quarterback, but I fit right in as a receiver."

Thorpe has proved that before at Notre Dame, Penn State and several other camps. He held his own with some of the nation's best at the U.S. Army National Combine in San Antonio, Jan. 6-7.

"I did well," Thorpe said. "I made it to the final round of the three-on-three competition with the best of the best cornerbacks, safeties and receivers. I haven't competed at receiver in a long time, but I thought I got in there and did what I had to do."

Even though he'll be taking the snaps on Fridays this season, Thorpe also thinks he'll get a chance to catch a couple balls.

"I do think I'm going to play a little receiver because we are going to run a shifty offense where I might motion out, or motion back to receiver, or even motion to running back."

Thorpe's max bench press is 275 pounds. He can squat 375 pounds, and reports a GPA of 2.8. He lists his early favorites in no particular order as Notre Dame, Florida, Florida State, Michigan and Virginia Tech.


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