Bridges-Thompson visits Wake Forest

Justin Bridges-Thompson, a junior at Spartanburg High School in South Carolina, has already received offers from Wake Forest and Pittsburgh. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound linebacker was at Wake Forest to check out the Demon Deacons game with Virginia Tech.

"I liked it," said Justin Bridges-Thompson of the visit. "The coaches showed me a lot of love. They were waiting for me when we got there. They showed me all around campus. I was mostly with Keith Henry, Tim Billings and Lonnie Galloway. I didn't get a chance to talk with Coach Grobe. He was busy with interviews and everything else."

Bridges-Thompson made the trip with his father and uncle. They all left Winston-Salem after the game equally impressed.

"I know they lost the game, but I loved the team's chemistry," said Bridges-Thompson. "The school has a great atmosphere. My dad and uncle really liked it too. We had a pre-game meal which was very good. They loved getting to see the locker room and the JumboTron. I talked with Chris Givens for awhile. He was really the only player I talk to a lot."

Bridges-Thompson has made trips to Clemson for the Wofford and Florida State games. He also went to South Carolina for the Kentucky and Auburn games. He thinks both schools are on the verge of extending an offer.

"This summer I went to two camps at South Carolina," he said. "I was at Wake Forest and a Nike camp at Duke University. It was at the Wake Forest camp that Coach Billings fell in love with me, and I got the offer. I get letters all the time from him mailed to my school."

Bridges-Thompson moved to inside linebacker this year from free safety. He's made more than 90 tackles in the first eight games, seven tackles for loss, two sacks, and a pass breakup.

"We're doing real well," said Bridges-Thompson of his team. "Right now we're 6-2. I'm doing better (this year) at reading offensive schemes and with my flow to the ball getting better angles. I'm good at dropping back in coverage after having played safety. I'd like to get a pick next game."

The Panthers have turned things around after a 3-8 season a year ago. This weekend they play Rock Hill. They'll finish the season with top-ranked Gaffney, their arch-rival.

Bridges-Thompson plans on going to San Antonio in January to compete in the U.S. Army National Combine limited to 500 selected athletes from across the country. With a good performance in Texas he hopes to raise his recruiting stock even higher.

"The first thing for me is going to be the academics, getting a good education," said Bridges-Thompson on deciding on a college. "I want to go into Computer Engineering. I'm already taking classes for it at my high school.

"Next I want to look at the players at my positions to see what class they are. If they're a lot of freshman playing linebacker, I'd probably be less inclined to go there. The last thing would be how the team stands with their recruiting class."

Bridges-Thompson competes in the off-season in the 400 meter dash, the triple jump, high jump, long jump, and the 4x1 relay for the Spartanburg track & field team. His football team, the Panthers, play in South Carolina's Region III-AAAA.

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