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West Virginia receiver Thompson eager to prove worth

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By Josh Sickles
Friday, March 30, 2012
 

Jordan Thompson has heard he's too small all of his life.

As a kid and all through high school, the 5-foot-8 wide receiver was looked down on, but he just wanted a chance to prove himself. West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen gave him that opportunity.

"A lot of people have told me that ... anybody who gives me a chance, make sure I take the opportunity and produce," Thompson said. "Dana gave me the chance, and right now, I'm trying to produce."

The freshman from Katy, Texas, is quickly adjusting to the college game and has a chance to contribute this fall.

"It only took me two practices," he said. "I had to pick up my tempo, my motor and play faster and play harder in order to keep up with the boys. My experience has been great. I just need to make plays."

Thompson is the type of recruit that Holgorsen has thrived with. Like Dustin Garrison, the lightly recruited running back who led the team in rushing last year, Thompson was under the radar.

Other than passing interest from Texas Tech, no Football Bowl Subdivision schools took notice. He was in line for scholarship offers from just two Football Championship Subdivision schools: Sam Houston State and Stephen F. Austin.

"I was really underneath the radar," Thompson said. "I didn't have a lot of exposure. ... One day, my high school coach called me to his office and told me Dana Holgorsen was looking at me and that he was going to come down to one of my games."

Thompson didn't disappoint. He caught five passes for 125 yards and three touchdowns before giving way to the backups in the second half. Following that game, West Virginia coaches were in constant contact.

He finished his senior season with 66 receptions for 1,117 yards and 17 touchdowns, scoring in all but one game. Now, Thompson, one of five recruits who enrolled in January, has the chance to make a splash this season because of all the receivers used in Holgorsen's offense.

The 165-pounder is the type of undersized but fast player who has thrived in Holgorsen's offense.

"It's not about size. It's more about quickness at that position," Holgorsen said. "He'll be hit by big guys only if they can touch him."

"You just have to be quick, and you have to be faster than them," Thompson said. "If you're quicker and faster then them, they can't touch you."

Playing at inside receiver, Thompson has drawn good reviews at spring practice from coaches and teammates for his work ethic, toughness and play-making ability. He's behind veterans Tavon Austin and J.D. Woods on the depth chart, but if Holgorsen uses enough receivers, Thompson will get a chance at playing time.

"I do feel like I have a lot to prove," Thompson said. "There's a lot of colleges in Texas — big ones like Baylor, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M. You have a lot of good colleges there, and I felt like since I'm from Texas, they could have easily saw me and had me right away. But they never gave me that opportunity, that chance.

"Dana gave me that chance, so I'm taking the full opportunity of it. I'm definitely playing with a chip on my shoulder."

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