Vols Land Georgia LB

That Tennessee got a linebacker commitment from Stone Mountain, Ga., is no surprise, but the fact this prospect is not from Stephenson High School is another matter altogether.

The Vols had been recruiting a trio of four-star linebacker prospects from Stephenson since last spring, but the one they committed is from Redan High School, and they've only been recruiting him since before the season finale at Kentucky.

LaMarcus Thompson, 6-11/2, 203 pounds isn't rated a four-star linebacker. In truth, he's only recently been added to Scout.com's data base. Nevertheless he's a standout three-star prospect who is rising rapidly and currrently resides at No. 52 nationally. No, he's not as well known as the more celebrated Stephenson LBs. However, he may have made a name for himself when Redan played the Jaguars.

"Against Stephenson I had 21 tackles, three for loss, one sack and a caused fumble," he said. "We were down and team morale was real low. I was able to knock a fumble loose to help us get back in the game. We really shut them down. We just had two turnovers that gave them touchdowns and we lost 16-7."

Redan's loss was Thompson's gain, as he caught the attention of several schools with scouts at the contest. The Raiders went on to post an 8-2 record before dropping their first playoff game, when their opponent's kicker hit a 50-yard field goal to win it.

Thompson may not have been well known before this year, but such heroics as he had against Stephenson was nothing new. He started four years at Redan and as a senior recorded 120 tackles, 11 for losses with 6.5 sacks and seven caused fumbles.

The only time Thompson has even seen Tennessee play was last month against Kentucky when he was visiting the Wildcats. He was offered by Kentucky as well as Duke, Arkansas and Georgia Tech. He went to camp at GTU where he turned in a time of 4.52 in the 40. He decided on UT sight unseen and will make his official visit to Knoxville Jan. 20.

"Trooper Taylor recruited me for Tennessee," he said. "We've got a real good relationship. He came in and won my mom over. That was the big key. Once you get my mom, it's game, set, match. She liked how real he was. You could tell there was truth in his words."

Taylor's words and Tennessee's football tradition won out over Georgia Tech's home-state advantage and the playing opportunity at Arkansas.

"It came down to Georgia Tech, Tennessee and Arkansas," he said. "It was the program at Tennessee that sold me. The coaching staff, they've got a great linebacker coach who's put a lot of players in the NFL. They've got 107,000 in the stands. They've got very good tradition, very loyal fans. I just want to be in that environment."

The linebacker known as "L.T." could add a lot to UT's atmosphere with his aggressive play and striking ability. He said he developed his focused intensity from a senior who drove him to be his best all the time.

"When I was in the 10th grade one of the senior football players stayed on me real hard," he said. "It was the summer between my ninth and tenth grade years during camp. He stayed on me real hard. He just laid me out. I'd still get up and keep going and that got me ready to be a good player.

"One of my coaches told me that was what made me dangerous because I've got controlled anger. I can turn it on anytime I needed it."

Thompson also has good recognition skills and an innate ability to sniff out plays.

"My ball awareness is my strength," he said. "It doesn't matter how much misdirection, I read keys good. I know where to move."

Thompson, who has a 3.1 GPA and is fully qualified, also played fullback in high school, but expects to be an outside linebacker in college where his acute diagnostic skills and instincts will be well served.

"Basically he (John Chavis) sees me at Will linebacker," Thompson explained. "I play coverages, too. In some sets I would drop back to strong safety or cover at Will linebacker."

It remains be seen how good Thompson is, but any linebacker named L.T. can't be bad.

You can see him in action here:
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