2016 isn’t a particularly good year for running backs but the Florida Gators are definitely searching for a good one in 2016 and they have moved to the JUCO ranks to find one.
On Thursday night the Gators offered JUCO running back Mark Thompson (6-2, 232, Dodge City, KS, Dodge City Community College) and it was an emotional offer for Thompson.
“That offer meant everything because I’ve been wanting to be a Gator ever since before Tim Tebow,” Thompson said. “I’ve just always liked Florida and it was a dream school for me. I’m just really excited and really happy to say I have an offer from Florida. I had tears of joy coming out of my eyes.”
Running backs coach Tim Skipper was the guy who made the call and Skipper has been evaluating and watching Thompson for several months now.
“Coach Skipper was the coach that offered me on Thursday,” Thompson said. “We had been talking for about a week and half recently but when he was at Colorado State he was recruiting me some but he said that when he got to Florida he checked out my tape again. He said that he needed me but that he had to have the SEC review my transcript and they cleared me last night [Thursday].”
Thompson knows a good deal about Florida and Skipper made sure to explain the need for a veteran presence in Gainesville at the position.
“He said that right now they have a lot of young guys and if I come there in December he will have some redshirt freshman and sophomores there and he will need someone with my experience back there,” Thompson said. “He said that he needs a guy like me that are ready to go and can play from the get go.”
Over the last few years Thompson has played in several different styles of offense, but the Florida Gators’ offense is one he could see himself playing in.
“That pro-style offense is good for me as a running back,” Thompson said. “As a running back I have to know the whole playbook so it will be a challenge but it’s a challenge that will be good for me.”
With an offer in hand, Thompson is now looking forward to getting down to Gainesville.
“I have two years to play so I will graduate in December and enroll in January so I can take visits starting at the end of May,” Thompson said. “I’m hoping to do most of visits this fall if it’s possible but I’m hoping to get out to Florida for a game this fall but if not then I’ll just take a visit whenever I can.”
INSIDERS TAKE: If Florida continues to recruit Thompson hard then the Gators have a great chance here. I expect Florida to push hard for Thompson to visit this summer and things could move quickly if he does. Thompson sees the big need for an experienced back at Florida.