Trent Thompson, the state’s No. 1 overall football prospect, is taking the unusual route in announcing his college decision sooner than later.
The 5-star defensive tackle from Albany’s Westover High School will reveal his choice around 7 p.m. Tuesday.
UGA has been the longtime frontrunner for Thompson, who also lists Alabama and Auburn in his top three.
He’s also mentioned Florida State, Clemson and USC at times among his favorites.
“Georgia has been his leader since day one — he really feels comfortable on their campus,” Westover coach Octavia Jones told the AJC. “And he has a great relationship with the coaches at Georgia, as well as the coaches at Auburn. He has probably visited Auburn more times than Georgia, and he has spent a lot of time with that coaching staff, especially Coach Garner.
“You know, Alabama is Alabama. Any time recruits step foot on that campus they are going to impressed with what they see. They have top-notch facilities, and it’s the chance to play for a legend such as Coach Saban. That has to be intriguing for any kid.”
“So those are some of the main things that he likes about those three schools but the most important thing is that all three of those institutions offer great academics. And that’s very important to him.”
Many 5-star prospects, including last year’s No. 1 out of Georgia (UGA signee Lorenzo Carter), drag out the recruiting process until signing day to max out the publicity and attention. Thompson made the surprising decision to call it off early.
“I would like to think that Trent listened to me,” Jones said. “I’ve had several conversations with him in the last couple of weeks — that it may be a good idea for him to go ahead and commit early so he can enjoy his senior season, focus on school, and try to help us win a state championship.
“Obviously, he had his reasons for wanting to wait this long. He wanted to help his teammates out with getting exposure. A lot of people thought that that was coming from us (his coaches). But that was all Trent. It’s just the kind of person he is, and he wanted to do all he could to help his teammates.”
Why Tuesday? It’s the anniversary of his grandparents. After Westover’s practice next Tuesday, Thompson and his teammates will fill into the school’s auditorium to make the highly-anticipated announcement.
“I think the winning school is getting the best defensive lineman in the country,” Jones said. “We definitely feel like he’s a future first-round NFL draft pick. His ceiling is so high. He hasn’t reached it yet.
“He’s going to be so much better on the next level when those college coaches get to spend more and more time with him. They’ll improve his technique, and he’ll get a lot of experience going against other top-notch players from across the country. That’s all going to be make him that much better.”
UGA is the heavy frontrunner for Thompson, who has publicly named the Bulldogs as his leader ever since reporters began asking him. He has reiterated the point several times this summer. It made a big and lasting impression on Thompson when UGA was the first school to offer.
The 6-foot-4, 290-pounder has also admitted that he almost committed to UGA at least twice last year.
Who else in the picture for Thompson? The strongest contender may be Auburn. Thompson and his mother are fond of Rodney Garner, the former UGA recruiting coordinator.
As of Wednesday night, 100 percent of 59 recruiting experts were projecting Thompson to UGA in the 247sports.com Crystal Ball predictions.
Thompson recently dropped from the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect to No. 2 in the rankings. More than likely, it had to do with Thompson’s decision to skip last month’s Nike Opening to prepare for his high school season. Thompson will have the chance to regain the top spot at January’s Army All-America Bowl.
Thompson’s coach commends his prized prospect for keeping things in perspective:
“I think he has done an outstanding job with handling all this attention he has been getting,” Jones said. “You rarely see high school sophomores get that many offers from big colleges and be able to take it in stride and use it as motivation to work harder to achieve his goal.
“He hasn’t, for one second, let it go to his head. And it hasn’t distracted him at all.”
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