Wednesday turned out to be a big night for the Florida Gators when JUCO running back Mark Thompson (6-2, 230, Dodge City, KS) committed to Florida and gave the Gators 11 commits for 2016.
Thompson has long been a Gators lean since picking up a Florida offer last month, but he woke up Wednesday and had a good feeling about Florida that led him to making the call to the Gators.
“I had a talk with coaches here at Dodge City and with my parents as well and I told them that I was really feeling strongly about Florida,” Thompson said. “That was the reason I decided to go ahead and commit to Florida so that I don’t have to worry about those things during the season.”
Running backs coach Tim Skipper is out on the road recruiting and he wasn’t expecting to hear big news on Wednesday but when Thompson called he showed his excitement. However, it was a talk with Jim McElwain that made this news possible today.
“I committed to coach [Tim] Skipper but I talked to coach Mac earlier today [Wednesday] and that was what really drove me to this conclusion today,” Thompson said. “Coach Skipper was super excited, he was amped up about it. He said he had to walk to the bathroom to talk because he was in the airport while he was out recruiting.”
McElwain is a coach that keeps an honest approach with prospects and he simply laid out what being a Florida Gator was all about to Thompson and the JUCO running back loved what he heard.
“Coach Mac brought up a lot of things that helped in the grand scheme of things,” Thompson said. “He brought up some things about what being a Gator could do for me not just in football but outside of football. He said that being a Gator can help me after I’m done playing the game that I love.”
A month ago when Thompson heard the news about his Florida offer he was tempted to commit on the spot, but he waited until he knew the feeling was right.
“Being a Gator has a lot of huge pluses. Plus I’ve always wanted to be a Gator,” Thompson said. “When I first got the offer I didn’t want to rush into things because I wanted to make sure Florida was the right fit for me and now I believe it is.”
Thompson will have two years to play for the Gators when he arrives in January and he promises to be at his best when he arrives in Gainesville.
“I just want to make sure when I come down there that I’m the complete product of Mark Thompson,” he said. “I want to play my best, week in and week out, and I want to live the excitement of the fans and the atmosphere down there instead of just talking about it. I’m going to get prepared for that moment.”
Throughout Thompson’s recruitment he kept stressing that he only wanted to make one commitment and he’s holding true to that now that he has committed to Florida.
“I’m solid to my commitment to Florida,” Thompson said. “I’m going to try and take an unofficial visit this summer and see the scenery and all of that. I’ll make my first official visit to Florida in November after my season is over up here.”
INSIDERS TAKE: The Gators just landed a big time player in Thompson and he’s a high character guy who believes in the word “commitment”. Florida will have Thompson enroll in January as he has three years to play two for the Florida Gators.