Despite the general expectation being that Duncanville safety Chris Thompson Jr. would ultimately become a member of Tom Herman’s 2020 class, the four-star talent has elected to leave the state, siding with the Auburn Tigers over the Texas Longhorns on Sunday afternoon.
USC and Ohio State were each options, as well, though prior to his pledge to the Tigers, Thompson’s Crystal Ball sat entirely in favor of the Horns with 10 picks placed.
This miss, of course, serves as a major one for the Horns, as Thompson was arguably Texas’ top target at the position. In January of 2018, Thompson became the first 2020 safety prospect to notch a Texas offer, and Texas safeties coach Craig Naivar made it clear that Thompson was atop their big board, as he noted to BON earlier this year.
“I have a great relationship with Coach [Craig] Naivar,” Thompson said of why he likes the Longhorns. “Coach Naivar has pretty much been telling me that I’m his top recruit and that he’s more interested in me than anybody else.”
Since earning his Texas offer, Thompson toured the Forty Acres three times throughout the 2018 calendar year, and he’s since returned this offseason for unofficial and official (May 3) visits. Of course, the close proximity to the Dallas area helped the Horns get Thompson to campus so often, but the Longhorns’ long-standing relationship with their priority safety prospect was believed to be something that would ultimately tilt things in Texas’ favor when decision day arrived.
As BON’s Wescott Eberts previously noted, given that the Horns offered shortly after his sophomore season, “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.”
However, despite Auburn jumping into the mix only months ago with an offer in March, the Tigers’ staff made an almost immediate impression.
After unofficially visiting Auburn in mid-April, Thompson returned on an official basis several weeks later, which he told Burnt Orange Nation he loved, noting that he felt assistant defensive backs coach Wesley McGriff and head coach Gus Malzahn are genuine people.
With Thompson taking his talents to the SEC, the Longhorns are still in pursuit of their first pledge at the safety position after missing out on others including Lathan Ransom (Ohio State) and Bryson Washington (Oklahoma). The obvious top options on Texas’ big board going forward are four-star Lufkin standout Jerrin Thompson, who has begun trending heavily to Texas since adding an offer fewer than two full weeks ago, as well as Pearland Shadow Creek product Xavion Alford, though he, too, is projected to take his talents to the SEC.