He’s got Darren Sproles size – could Deron Thompson be the next great Wildcat running back?
Welcome to our fourth installment of The Jug’s series on uncommitted players from the state of Kansas that K-State will look to secure over the course of the next eight months. With previous posts already on Braden Smith, Peyton Newell, and Deandre Goolsby, our next look is at Wichita Northwest’s Deron Thompson.
What Thompson Would Bring To K-State
Thompson, quit simply, fits the system. At 5’9” and 175 lbs, he more closely resembles Wildcat prodigies such as Darren Sproles and John Hubert than the bruisers of other programs such as former Oklahoma Sooner Adrian Peterson or Texas Longhorn Cedric Benson. There’s a model that this program takes on – smaller players that can easily bounce outside, take screens for long gains, and react quickly to option plays. They must be able to play with patience, which also means they can quickly burst past defenders when holes finally do open.
How quick of a burst does Thompson offer? He runs a 4.3 40-yard dash. A 4.3 second forty. As a junior. Even if he has topped out at this speed, it’s a swiftness few NCAA athletes are able to exhibit. His abilities allowed him to rack up 1,482 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior, after gaining just over 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns his sophomore year. He was an All-State player for Northwest High School and the sky may very well be the limit his senior year. His yardage totals indicate both talent and durability, and would be a welcome addition to the backfield – just imagine what that speed would look like combined with Daniel Sams running the option.
Why K-State Needs Thompson
Tremendous athletes will garner attention across the country, and he has already been extended offers from Minnesota and Army with Iowa State, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, and Oregon all putting out feelers. However, this is a Kansas kid and K-State has to be able to protect its own backyard. K-State has already extended a scholarship and must put in work to get him to accept the offer. While K-State has been able to get small-town recruits from the western half of the state and local athletes from Junction City and Manhattan to stay home (Junction City’s Josh Freeman had offers across the nation), Oklahoma has been particularly effective at reaching up into Wichita and stealing the state’s top recruits year after year (and remember that Oklahoma State was able to get Wichita’s greatest recruit ever – Barry Sanders). In addition, recruiting is all about domino effects – once a great running back signs, top offensive linemen want to come in to block for him. Wide receivers want to play with the talent that deflects defensive attention from the passing game. Etc, etc. Everyone wants to play for a winning team.
On another level, Bill Snyder straight up needs running backs coming into the system. The immediate future looks like one of the best in the conference with John Hubert returning for his senior year. However, there’s no proven talent ready to step up once he leaves in 2014.
So Does K-State Get Him?
Something to watch is the fact Thompson is being recruited by Joe Bob Clements for Oklahoma State. Clements was the coach who jumped ship from the Wildcats to the Cowboys LINK for essentially the same position. One would hope Clements takes the high road and refrains from dishing dirt (truthful or otherwise) on K-State. However, should Thompson remove K-State from his list of schools within a short time of visiting with Clements again, more than one eyebrow would certainly be raise.
A three star recruit, he is nationally ranked the 12th best running back in the nation. It’s important to note that no recruit from Kansas is automatically recruited by K-State, regardless of ranking or talent. They must be personally signed off on by Bill Snyder. But Thompson carries a 3.45 GPA and appears to be a solid individual – he also has an offer from Army, which remains among the most demanding programs in the nation. 247 Sports says he is highest on Minnesota, Colorado State, and Kansas State, and their early prediction is that he chooses Minnesota. He has visited Nebraska, Missouri, TCU for camps, had an unofficial visit to Nebraska, and conducted both an official and unofficial visit at Minnesota.