Linebacker Tyriq Thompson
Detroit, Michigan (Martin Luther King)
between 6'0'' and 6'1'', 215 and 220 pounds.
4* to Scout, 3* to Rivals, ESPN, 24/7
Duke, Iowa, Michigan, NC State, Pitt, Wisconsin
Thoughts on Offer List
The expected blend of mid to high range Midwest/Atlantic schools for the typical sought after Michigan recruit. A Duke offer (a Duke offer!) means quite a bit more this year than it would've several years ago, while Iowa and Michigan offers perhaps not as much, but overall a nice list, neither over nor underwhelming. Big Ten schools Illinois, Northwestern, and Indiana also offered Thompson.
Thoughts on Film
So, off the top here, I'm just gonna throw a name out there, and you can do with it what you want, 'kay?
Greg Jones, right? Or like, Greg Jones-ish?
It's always one of those things where you need your player comparisons, your familiar base of reference, to be well known enough to be recognizable, but not promising the world of a prospect. Is a former All-American too much? Maybe. But like Jones, though teams might wish Thompson is an inch taller, and there's not much evidence that he's comfortable in pass coverage, over the middle of otherwise, one cannot deny that he brings something special to the table against the run.
Look at Thompson find the football. Stopping the run from inside linebacker slots is basically a mini-game inside the larger game of football itself. You've got this wall of massive moving pylons in front of you and a moving target dipping and ducking around on the other side of the wall. You have to locate that target and then charge in without getting waylaid by any of those moving pylons, or faked out by the target. Thompson is flying into this mob of bodies and picking out the right object again and again. As a freshman, likely stuck behind some older guys on the depth chart, could this skill translate into a year or two of killer special teams play? Gotta think so.
He's also a strong blitzer both up the middle, and off the edge, and shows good timing in batting down passes behind the line. And though he's not breaking up passes down-field, or making interceptions, he does seem to get into good position to make the quick tackle to prevent yards after the catch (c'mon, Greg 2.0 right?), albeit in limited film.
Now, the interesting difference between MSU from 2008 and MSU in 2015 is that in 2015 maybe we put someone like Thompson or G. Jones at OLB, specifically the Denicos Allen/Ed Davis spot, instead of MLB. I think Thompson could play either, but if Darien Harris can still compete for time at MLB, it's clear that there isn't some sort of hard requirement on being 6'3 to play the position. For my money, I could see Thompson getting a look in the middle first.
As for his offensive film, I don't have much to say except that it's good to see that the play-action TE/FB leaking out into the flat in goal-line situations is still the most unstoppable play in football.
Basically, Thompson enters his senior year as 75% of a really good college linebacker, and if he and the MSU coaches can up his game in defending the pass, the sky's the limit.
Outlook on the Rest of the Class
Thompson is the 13th commit in the Spartan's 2015 class, and probably the 2nd or 3rd linebacker depending on where you think Willis and Grayson end up. Seems very likely that MSU takes one more LB in this class (and indeed, that news may be coming sooner rather than later).
The Spartan's increased emphasis on Detroit has paid off again, this time snagging a talented Michigan legacy over to the good guys. Congratulations Tyriq, and welcome!