January 28, 2010

Four-star defensive end makes decision

Carlos Thompson, one of Ole Miss' top targets for the 2010 signing class, committed to the Rebels today.

The four-star defensive end from Hollandale (Simmons), Miss., chose Ole Miss over Mississippi State, Baylor, Memphis, North Carolina, Southern Mississippi and Baylor. Simmons is rated by Rivals.com as the nation's No. 175 overall prospect. Further, Thompson is ranked as the No. 4 prospect in Mississippi and the No. 9 weakside defensive end in the country.

"Thompson has a terrific defensive end body with long arms, big hands and a frame that is capable of adding a lot of good weight," Rivals.com recruiting analyst Barton Simmons said. "At 6 feet 5, Thompson has strictly lean muscle mass on a body that is far from maxed out.

"Off of the edge, Thompson has tremendous explosiveness and suddenness. He gets a great jump off of the snap and has great straight-line speed that allows him to pursue the ball well and make plays well downfield. That quickness combined with his length allows Thompson to be a real nightmare as a pass-rusher."

Thompson's recruiting was an Egg Bowl battle virtually from the beginning. Both the Rebels and the Bulldogs made him a top priority, in large part because of his immense potential and his reputation as a high-character, hard-working young man whose father is a high school football coach. He visited Mississippi State and Ole Miss on consecutive weekends earlier this month, returning from Oxford on Sunday and telling RebelSports.net the then-impending choice was "going to be a real tough decision, the toughest decision I've ever had to make."

However, Ole Miss had a couple of things going for it in its pursuit of Thompson. First, the Rebels are looking to replace defensive ends Greg Hardy, Marcus Tillman and Emmanuel Stephens from last season's playing rotation. Secondly, Ole Miss defensive line coach Terry Price was the defensive ends coach at Auburn when Thompson's god-brother, Quentin Groves, was starring for the Tigers. Groves now plays professionally for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

"That's one of the big factors for Ole Miss," Thompson said.

Thompson is the third highly-coveted defensive line prospect from Mississippi to publicly commit to the Rebels, joining Madison, Miss., defensive linemen Cartlon Martin and Bryon Bennett.

Thompson, who represented Mississippi in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic in Mobile, Ala., last month and then played in the U.S. Army All-American Game earlier this month in San Antonio, Texas, is the 17th prospect _ including signees Wayne Dorsey and Damien Jackson and early enrollee Chase Hughes _ to publicly commit to Ole Miss. The Rebels are expected to sign close to the maxium of 28 prospects to letters-of-intent on Feb. 3, though Ole Miss can distribute just 22 scholarships for the 2010 signing class.

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