This week we move along in our preview of the 2013 recruiting class that Urban Meyer has assembled with a look at 247 composite 4-star safety Jayme Thompson, the 15th ranked overall player from the state of Ohio. Thompson will join an Ohio State secondary that is the most experienced group on the defensive side of the ball, but Meyer's hyper-competitive atmosphere combined with a lackluster effort from the defense in 2012 doesn't automatically disqualify Thompson from seeing the playing field. During Thompson's recruiting, OSU had to compete with multiple schools that offered Thompson, and he was originally committed to West Virginia before he concluded that OSU was the best fit.
Wt: 185, or 13 stone for our British friends
(In the ballpark) 40 time: Let's go with 4.5, which is what the consensus is based on several 40 times we've seen.
High School: Central Catholic High School, Toledo, OH
Thompson was the seventh member of Urban Meyer's class of 2013, but he came to Columbus by way of Morgantown, West Virginia. Sort of. Thompson's recruiting tale is a common one these days – highly sought after kid with multiple offers who committed to one school and then chose...or flipped...another school. Originally pursued by Nebraska, West Virginia, and Notre Dame, Thompson committed to Dana Halgorsen and West Virginia February 2nd, 2012. But soon after that, Thompson started drawing interest from Ohio State, and after an official visit the last weekend of March, he announced his commitment to Ohio State on April 1st.
One of the reasons for the switch was proximity to home and his parents being able to see him regularly play, but he was also impressed with defensive backs coach/ co-defensive coordinator Everett Whiters and head coach Urban Meyer:
"I loved the way Coach (Everett) Withers coached up the defensive backs," he explained. "He is a very intense coach, and I feel like he is the coach to help me realize my full potential as a player."
"Coach (Urban) Meyer is so passionate, and he wants guys to have fun, but you can tell how serious he is about the game."
But making the switch was still a tough decision for Thompson, and he made clear his fondness for how he felt about West Virginia:
"I certainly believe they are going to compete for championships there, and they will be great under the current coaching staff. The staff and the fans treated me great at West Virginia, and I have great feelings for that school."
At the time of his commitment, opinions on Thompson were varied, and he was not a consensus 4 star prospect at the time. In fact, he wasn't one of the more well known recruits in the much ballyhooed class of 2013, but that's not a knock on his athleticism or ability--it's more the position he plays. Both starting safeties from last year, Christian Bryant and C.J. Barnett, are returning, and with a lot of attention focused on the playmakers, it's easy to see why a kid like Thompson was overlooked.
But a funny thing happened to Jayme Thompson on the way to a hum drum signing day. Over the summer, he blew up at the Nike Football Training Camp (NFTC) held in Columbus and The Opening out in Oregon. In turn, his stock started to rise, and by August he had received his fourth star by Scout.
As his senior year unfolded, Thompson became a force on the field and was a leader on a defense that helped lead Central Catholic to a Division II state title over Trotwood Madison. In that title game, Thompson was a key component in a unit that held star running back Israel Green to just 56 yards on 14 carries, and kept Trotwood-Madison from crossing midfield until the fourth quarter.
If there's one position at Ohio State that is relatively deep, it's safety. As mentioned before, both starting safeties from lat year are back, but they'll both be seniors, and you can never have enough depth. Because of the scholarship limit, the OSU coaching staff purposely limited the recruiting class to only two safeties. Although the starters would appear to be set, the two deep is far from settled, and Thompson will get every opportunity to become a contributor once fall practice begins.
Thompson looks very good in run support, and is a big hitter in the secondary. He makes up for a lack of top end speed by playing smart football – he plays the ball well, takes solid angles to the ball, and is very solid in run support. His play reminds me in a lot of ways of former Buckeye Antoine Winfield. He's not a shutdown cover guy, which is why he's a safety, but he's good enough to win most of the match ups against guys he'll be asked to cover, and is a fundamentally sound tackler.
He also has some skill as a return guy, and later on down the road could push for time either as a kick or punt returner. He has sure hands, but his lack of pure burst makes us wonder if he's the type of guy Meyer would want returning kicks or punts.
Highlight Jam Session:
One Of These Things Is Blatantly False:
- Former OSU WR Dane Sanzenbacher is also a graduate of Toledo Central Catholic
- Jayme is originally from Washington, DC, and subsequently grew up a University of Washington fan
- Jayme committed to Ohio State the same day that Ezekiel Elliott did
- Thompson was originally WVU's first commit for the class of 2013
- He wore number 8 for Toledo Central Catholic