Crompton Courtship Adds Contender

The courtship of Jonathan Crompton gained another contender Wednesday when LSU head coach Nick Saban called Tuscola High School head coach Travis Noland to extend a scholarship offer.

The defending national champions join a growing and prestigious group of grade A gridiron programs pursuing the pigskin prodigy.

"I'm getting heavily recruited by Notre Dame, Arizona State, Clemson, Virginia, North Carolina State, North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Michigan, Purdue, Nebraska, BYU, a bunch of great schools," he said during a recent interview with Rocky Top News. "You can't go wrong with any of them."

Not bad for a prospect who despite being 6-3, 216, is still only 16 years old.

A frequent visitor at Tennessee practices this spring, Crompton, of Waynesville, N.C., lists the Vols as his leader while acknowledging the addition of LSU to a litany of distinguished pursuers.

"Tennessee is still in the lead and LSU offered today, and that's about it," the junior told The Insiders Tuesday. "My coach was talking to them on the phone today and he just turned around and said LSU just offered."

LSU has a lot of things to offer most signal callers, but playing time may not be among them. Prep all-American JaMarcus Russell already has a redshirt year in the program and will have a two-year head start in the system on anyone in the Class of 2005.

Playing time is a prime factor for most high-profile prospects and, while Crompton isn't afraid of competition, there's something to be said for taking the path of less resistance, particularly at quarterback where if you're not "The Man" you're a reserve with limited playing opportunity.

That's why this spring's quarterback competition could eventually impact Crompton's decision. If C.J. Leak holds onto the No. 1 job through spring and solidifies that claim in the fall, the path to the No. 1 position would be clear going into the fall of 2005. Rick Clausen remains a viable option and one of the freshmen figures to earn some reps this fall, but a player with Crompton's skill level could easily level the playing field without an established starter to compete against. Even if Clausen should project as a starter next spring, Crompton could redshirt a year and still become a four-year starter.

Tennessee is not a bad situation for a talented young QB. After all, Clausen left LSU because of the lack of playing opportunity and the Vols haven't signed a top ten quarterback prospect since Casey Clausen in 2000.

However let's say neither veteran claims the quarterback job this fall for the Vols and one of the freshmen comes on like gangbusters. Granted it's not a likely scenario but it is another reason Tennessee fans shouldn't count on Crompton before he commits. In the case of Chris Simms even a commitment on national television wasn't enough to get him to UT. In the case of Chris Leak, frequent visits to Tennessee didn't translate into a commitment to the Vols — at least not publicly.

Sure you've got to like Tennessee's chances with the N.C. QB but as Crompton himself put it: "Everybody has a shot right now."

Editor's Note: The April Issue of Rocky Top News features an in-depth story on Jon Crompton who is also showcased on the cover.

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