Chance Encounter

Sometimes being in the right place at the right time is all it takes to get things set in motion.

At least that's what JUCO quarterback Allen Thigpen, who also goes by "A.J.," is hoping.

Thigpen, who spent last year at Scottsdale Community College but is now at Phoenix College, stopped by his old high school [Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton] on Monday at the same time that Texas running backs coach Tommie Robinson was there.

That run in could pay dividends for the 6-foot-3, 213-pound dual-threat QB with the news HornsDigest wrote about on Wednesday that Max Wittek is no longer considered an option for Texas.

"We just started talking about Hamilton first and that led to the recruiting conversation," Thigpen said. "We just talked about how the position was looking at Texas and stuff. At first I didn't think they recruited junior college. He said he would talk to [quarterbacks] Coach [Shawn] Watson and if he did like me he would want to see me throw today."

Thigpen hasn't heard back on that front, yet, but he did email Robinson his spring highlights, as well as highlights from his senior season in high school, and his grades to let him know he's an automatic qualifier, which means he could enroll this fall and play right away. He has three years to play two.

Why didn't he send Robinson highlights from last season, you ask? Well he didn't play quarterback for Scottsdale CC. UNLV signee Blake Decker did. Thigpen punted. Well enough to earn second-team all-conference honors.

That lack of quarterback play is one of the reasons Thigpen has only had conversations with Portland State and Memphis outside of the one he had with Robinson. But there's other variables in play, Thigpen said.

"Only played my senior year at high school so I got a late start with recruiting," he said. "Me and my head coach weren't on really good terms so when recruiters came I didn't always have the best help behind me to get my name out there.

"I kind of got over-looked. If you take a chance on me I will be a great addition to the program. I think it's from high school, too, watching all of these QBs get offers, they've been starting since their junior year. I only started my senior year. If I would have had another year starting I wouldn't be in the situation I'm in now."

Nevertheless, Thigpen is happy to be hearing from a program like Texas no matter how early in the process it might be between the two sides. It might evolve into something, or nothing. He just wants the chance to prove himself.

"That would be great," he said. "Texas has a really good program. I'm trying to get to a Division I program, that's always been a dream. Since I'm a qualifier I can go to my next team in the fall. I just hope a school will take a chance on me, and hope Texas is that school. I won't let them down."

Thigpen, who said he runs a 4.58 40-yard dash, said he's a Johnny Manziel type of player but "just not as good with my feet."

"First of all, I'm a good athlete with a strong arm," he said. "I have the ability to get out of the pocket and make plays with my feet if there is nothing left there. So I feel like defenses have to respect my ability to run. I wouldn't say I'm necessarily a pocket-passer but I do like to stay in the pocket first. If there is nothing there then I like to make plays with my feet."

He hopes to get the chance to show off these abilities at a big-time program this fall. Wherever he ends up, he'll arrive with something to prove.

"I felt like not playing put a bigger chip on my shoulder just so I can prove everybody wrong," he said. "I feel like me sitting out and not playing QB last year just motivated me even more.


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