FRISCO, Texas — Like a number of other key Texas Longhorns target, Duncanville safety Chris Thompson Jr. is participating at The Opening Finals this week as he enters the final stretch of his recruitment before announcing a commitment.
“It’s been pretty cool. I’ve been talking to other players and recruits who are already committed, so it’s been pretty cool,” Thompson told Burnt Orange Nation’s Joe Hamilton.
As the temperature has increased throughout the spring into the summer, so has the intensity of Thompson’s recruitment. He’s taken recent official visits to Auburn, Ohio State, and USC, along with a visit to Texas, and those are the schools currently under consideration by the nation’s No. 7 safety, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
Thompson said that he “loved” his visit to Auburn, where he got an impression that assistant defensive backs coach Wesley McGriff and head coach Gus Malzahn are genuine people. At USC, the plan that the coaches laid out for Thompson to get to the NFL stood out to him. In Columbus, a talk with co-defensive coordinator/secondary coach Jeff Hafley left Thompson thinking that the former NFL assistant is a “defensive guru,” something he found “pretty attractive.”
Texas stands out to Thompson in large part because it’s close to home, something that the other schools he’s visited recently can’t offer. The fact that an offer from Texas came early during Thompson’s recruitment helps, too — the Horns started recruiting him in earnest by becoming the fourth Power Five program to extend an offer to him in Jan. 2018.
So Texas had a head start of three months on Ohio State, 12 and a half months on USC, and 13 and a half months on Auburn. The hope for the Longhorns coaching staff is that the extra time they’ve had to build a relationship with Thompson will win out over the programs to enter Thompson’s recruitment more recently.
Thompson’s teammate at Duncanville, quarterback Ja’Quinden Jackson, pledged to the Longhorns more than a month ago, starting discussion of the Dallas-to-Austin connection that eluded head coach Tom Herman and his staff since arriving on the Forty Acres. Jackson is now a consistent presence in Thompson’s ear recruiting for Texas.
“It’s possible,” Thompson said of becoming a part of that pipeline. “I’m pretty open, but I’m just trying to find the school that is the best fit for me.”
The Longhorns are also still making him feel like a priority, with Herman and safeties coach Craig Naivar. The consensus four-star prospect plans on announcing his decision in early August and Texas is considered the heavy favorite with all eight of his 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions.