The majority of the players Urban Meyer and his staff have brought in during their two-plus years in Columbus have been four and five-star players. In addition to the well known highly touted players, they've also been on the lookout for three-star gems and have found more than a few in the three recruiting classes they've ushered into the Buckeye football program. One underrated three-star guy they brought into the 2014 class was Lombard (IL) Montini Catholic defensive lineman Dylan Thompson.
Take a trip down memory lane and find out what kind of early impact he could have for the Buckeyes, as we bring you "Bucks to the Future", the Dylan Thompson story.
Weight: 270 pounds
247Sports Composite: Number 21 strong-side defensive end, 17th ranked player in the state of Illinois, and 459th overall player in the 2014 class.
High School: Montini Catholic High School, Lombard, Illinois
Thompson's recruitment kicked off back in 2012 when he started to receive some interest from a couple of nearby Big Ten schools in Wisconsin and Illinois. While he didn't receive his first scholarship offer in 2012, he had a very strong junior season and took his first two college visits to Illinois (September 22nd, 2012) and Wisconsin (October 6th, 2012).
Following a strong junior campaign, coupled with strong performances with his Core 6 training group, Thompson picked up his first scholarship offer from the in-state Illinois Fighting Illini when he was in Champaign for a junior day on January 26th, 2012. The very next day he was offered by the Indiana Hoosiers and made an unofficial visit to Bloomington just a couple of days after receiving the offer.
Next up for Thompson was the biggest offer he'd receive in his whole recruitment. On February 7th, 2013, just a couple of days after signing a top five recruiting class, Thompson received a call from Urban Meyer and was offered a scholarship to play football at Ohio State. Though he didn't commit on the spot, it was definitely believed the Buckeyes were in the driver's seat to score his verbal commitment.
After he was offered by the Buckeyes, his recruitment started to blow up, to an extent. Thompson received offers from Vanderbilt, Purdue, Syracuse, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Arkansas, Iowa, Iowa State, Missouri, and Clemson heading into his March 22nd visit to Ohio State.
Going into the visit, many people, including myself, thought he would commit to Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes before he left Columbus to head back to his home in Illinois. Those were proven right as Thompson ended all the speculation by committing to the Buckeyes on March 23rd, the final day of his first trip to Columbus. He became the fifth player to join what would later be coined "The Dream '14".
After committing, his mom told the Daily Herald that her son wanted to be a Buckeye from the second he received the offer:
"He wanted to immediately," said Dylan's mother, Michelle, "but we made him wait."
While he was done visiting schools not named Ohio State, there were still a lot of eventful things in his recruitment following his verbal commitment to the Buckeyes near the end of March, about 10 months before he would be able to sign a National Letter of Intent to make everything official.
He was one of a couple of recruits who attended Ohio State's annual Spring Game, which took place in Cincinnati last year, as Ohio State wanted to make some recruiting in-roads in the state's biggest city south of Columbus. He had the chance to spend some time with a few of his future teammates at the game, including fellow classmates Kyle Trout and a bevy of 2013 signees including Vonn Bell, Joey Bosa, Donovan Munger, and Christopher Worley.
His next trip to Columbus came at the beginning of June when he came to Ohio State's main campus in order to see the school he loved once again and also to participate in the Nike Football Training Camp to compete for an invitation to Nike's prestigious "The Opening" summer football camp.
This was the first time I got to see him up close and personal and he really impressed me at the camp. I thought he was the third best defensive linemen in attendance after Da'Shawn Hand and 2015 Buckeye target Tim Settle. He performed so well that he earned an invitation to "The Opening", but due to prior obligations, he was unable to make the trip out to Oregon to participate in the camp.
It didn't take him very long to make a return trip to Columbus as he was back on July 26th for Ohio State's annual Friday Night Lights football camp. During the camp, Thompson was able to spend a lot of time with his fellow "Dream '14" members and help recruit some top targets for the Scarlet and Gray. Really, that only thing he hadn't seen at Ohio State was a football game at Ohio Stadium, though that would soon change.
Thompson rolled back into Columbus on October 26th to watch the Buckeyes take on Penn State. It was the first time he would witness an Ohio State game in person and he sure picked a good game to attend as the Scarlet and Gray absolutely destroyed Penn State by a final score of 63-14.
In the middle of this, Thompson also had a very successful senior season on the football field where his team to a 13-2 record. Unfortunately, he was unable to win a third state championship as Montini Catholic lost to Sacred Heart-Griffin 38-28 in the title game.
Finally, he took an official visit to Ohio State on December 13th along with many of his future teammates. It was the final visit he would take over the recruiting process.
Just two months after taking his official to Columbus, Thompson inked his NLOI and faxed it to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, which marked the end of his recruitment and made him an official member of the Ohio State football program.
After officially becoming a member of the Ohio State football program, Thompson had the following to say to Land-Grant Holy Land about the recruiting process.
"It was actually only about two months (laughs), but just finally choosing a school and having a place to call my next home."
He will arrive on campus and start taking classes and working with the football team at the beginning of June.
While he mostly played defensive end at the high school level and was originally expected to play on the outside in college, I think it's pretty likely he makes the move inside to defensive tackle when he arrives on campus this June. He recently tweeted that he would probably weigh 290 pounds when he arrives on campus.
I think there is a pretty good chance Thompson redshirts his first year in Columbus in order to learn the system from legendary defensive line coach Larry Johnson. I think there's a lot of upside in his game, but I think it might take a year or two for him to develop.
Thompson appears to be one of the real hidden gems in the class and it will be a lot of fun to watch him develop and hopefully join the defensive line rotation somewhere down the road. Do I think he's going to be a star? Not necessarily, but he will probably make big contributions to the Ohio State defense for a couple of years.
Land-Grant Holy Land's Christopher Jason had the following to say about Thompson after watching the future Buckeye's highlights:
Thompson is a very solid defensive tackle who has the intangibles to get into the defensive line rotation right away. He is a workout warrior and does well against the run and as a pass rusher. He is quick off the ball for his size and is a disruptive force on the line of scrimmage. By mid-to-late season, I expect to see Thompson to see the field in the defensive line rotation.
Obligatory GIF, Highlights
Above are Thompson's most recent highlights posted on YouTube. To watch Thompson's senior highlight reel courtesy of HUDL, click here.
Did you know...
- Thompson's high school teammate linebacker Mike Maduko committed to Ohio State as a preferred walk-on on National Signing Day.
- Thompson and Maduko aren't the only Buckeyes to come from Montini Catholic High School. Ohio State alum and current NFL defensive lineman Garrett Goebel also graduated from Montini Catholic.
- Thompson played a big role in leading Montini Catholic to two state championships during his time as part of their football program.
- In his senior season, Thompson totaled 65 tackles, 35 of which came for loss, to go along with 17 sacks.