The Utes' season is winding down, and they have enjoyed a great deal of success this season both on the field and off. Utah currently sits ranked #16 at 7-2, coming off a close loss to the #4 Washington Huskies, and an opportunity to host ESPN’s famed College Gameday for the 2nd year in a row. The weekend was a great chance to host a rising California prospect, wide receiver Bryan Thompson.
“It was great, me and my family had so much fun,” Thompson said. “Me, my mom, and my brother were able to go. We arrived there around 9:00 AM Saturday morning, and we left 3:00 PM Sunday.”
Thompson and his family were able to arrive in time to enjoy some of the College Gameday atmosphere. “We got up there for some of the College Gameday experience, I didn’t get to meet any of the crew or anything special like that, but it was a really, really cool experience," he explained.
The game was even more impressive in Thompson's eyes. “The game was really exciting. My mom actually went to Washington, I thought she’d be rooting for them but she wasn’t. She was rooting for both teams, which was kind of left an impression on me,” he said. “I wanted Utah to win so bad, I wanted Washington to lose, and the game was really exciting. That last drive was crazy, and I’ll just say, I thought the refs missed a lot of calls.”
Utah receivers coach Guy Holliday is looking to bring in top-flight talent at the wide receiver position for the class of 2017, and the Utes feel Thompson is a good fit. Thompson is still fairly new to football, as he only started playing competitively a year ago, but he has already become the 73rd ranked wide receiver. He is a very good athlete combining solid speed with an impressive vertical jump, and at 6-foot-3, that makes a tough combination for any defender. College programs have taken notice too, as Thompson has received 20 offers, most from the Pac-12, and is starting to hear from schools in the Big-12, ACC, and SEC. Coach Holliday is working hard to bring in Bryan as another playmaker in the Utes spread offense.
“I got to spend a lot of time with Coach Holliday, and I came away really liking him. He was telling me I have a good opportunity, and he’s really looking at me to come in and be a key guy,” Bryan said. “He’s an upfront guy, honest, and he lays it to you truthfully. He’ll tell you what you do well, and what you need to work on. Not only help you in football, but also to become a young man. I thought we would talk about football but he wanted to talk about developing me for the real world, like school and life, and developing me as a man.”
That’s an important impression Coach Holliday has left, as two of the biggest factors Thompson is considering in the school he’ll commit to is the family atmosphere as well as a father figure type coach he can talk to about anything. “Those two things are really important for me, I want a coach that cares for me on & off the field and, yes, I see that with Coach Holliday," Thompson said. “I [also] really enjoyed the family atmosphere and the relationship between the players and coaches, I was very impressed.”
Not only did Utah and Coach Holliday impress Thompson off the field, but he is positive that he can contribute in the Utes offense as well. “I can definitely see myself at Utah, I think I fit really well in the offense,” he said. “I like the offense and some of their personnel groupings, they’ve got a speed group, a big group, a hands group, a blocking group, and I think I can play in each of those groups. I know they’re starting to throw the ball more, which I like, but they still run it, and I love to block. I played safety, so I love to hit and be physical.”
It seems clear that the visit to Utah had a positive impact for the Utes in Thompson's eyes. When it comes to what he is looking for in a school, the Utes seem like an easy fit. However, Thompson is no rush to make a decision, as he wants to take all five of his official visits and sit down with his family to make a decision. The good news is, it sounds like Utah is in a good spot. “My mom really enjoyed it the trip too. All of us were just super impressed, and it exceeded each of our expectations,” he said. “It was just so exciting for my family to experience that, and after the visit they told me that it would be a really good school for me.”