Alphabetical order this is not. Wanted to skip ahead to the latest Gator commit. Every commit will be covered, but if there is someone else out there you would like to see profiled, let us know.
Name: Colin Thompson
Position: Tight End
High School: Archbishop Wood Catholic (Warminster, PA)
Status: Verbally committed to Florida
First of all, I want to either 1) play in whatever classification/region/division Archbishop Wood Catholic plays in, or 2) play for their offensive coordinator. In the first few clips, Thompson finds himself very open and while it is definitely a testament to his route running skills, it is also amazing to see a high school offense run so smoothly at times. Many big plays in high schools occur because of talent discrepancies or broken plays. Seeing them occur because of solid play calling and disciplined players is always a treat.
Thompson is usually discussed as a larger, blocking tight end (more on that below), but the video goes out of its way to highlight his catching abilities as well. What is most impressive is how effortless he makes catches look. To him, it is just one minor part of the play. He does not appear to let making the catch distract him. It is only part of the job he is doing and he does it well and in stride. Why is this important? I remind you of former Florida wide receiver Taylor Jacobs. Jacobs was a serviceable third WR behind Reche Caldwell and Jabar Gaffney that got his chance in the spotlight the year after those two departed for the NFL. Jacobs played well in some games and great in others, but he had a knock on him – his ability to make the easy catch. Jacobs would wow you with a spectacular catch in traffic over a defender only to drop a ten-yard curl a play later. This does not appear to be an issue with Thompson because he makes every catch look simple. Check out the catch he makes at the 0:30 mark. One-handed, falling catch? No problem. Ball caught. Fall to ground. Get up. Flip ball to referee. Back to the huddle.
In terms of blocking ability, Thompson does well for someone his age. It is hard to locate him at first in some of the clips due to the camera view, but once you find him, he has usually pushed his defender well into the second level of the defense. What stands out is the way he stays with his blocks. Many of the runs are successful in part because Thompson did not stop blocking. He drove his defender out of the way and kept blocking to the whistle. That discipline is not always easy to teach at the high school level and occasionally you find players standing around while a ball carrier is trying to do the bulk of the work. Thompson has that famous "five to six seconds" work ethic of going as hard as you can until the play in completely over. His blocking skills will be a nice addition to a program that has seen a different type of TE in recent years.
You can tell a lot by a player’s body language and Thompson’s relates directly to the way he catches the ball. He has that business-like way of playing the game. He is precise on routes, makes catches look easy, finishes blocks, always helps his teammates up, and pops up and gets right back to the huddle. Thompson has the discipline to turn into a solid player at every level he gets to. For Florida, his commitment was huge. This is the type of player you want in your program.
Thompson’s recruitment is not over – no one’s is – but he seems as solid as you can get at the moment. I could list Boston College and Wisconsin (the rest of his top three) as "other schools in play," but for now, I will leave them off. I am sure neither will give up on Thompson completely, but he sure sounds like he is all Gator.