The sophomore spotlight shifts back to the offensive side of the ball today and to a player that may benefit from a change in the offensive philosophy as much as anybody on the team, Chris Thompson.
A Gainesville High School product, Thompson wasn’t the most recruited player in high school but he knew what he wanted and was determined to get it. Thompson came to Will Muschamp’s football camp without a scholarship offer. He worked out for the coaching staff and, while their feedback was positive, he left without the offer.
So he kept coming back, trying to prove his worth to the coaching staff. On Friday Night Lights, some two years ago, Thompson did just that. With a scholarship offer from his hometown Gators in hand, he committed and stood by that offer.
2013 Stats: 7 games played (1 start), 2 catches, 13 yards
A track star in high school, Thompson’s game is predicated around his speed. He isn’t a technical route runner just yet but he has the speed to get past people and the quickness to make defenders miss. He can quickly accelerate from a full stop and get back into high gear relatively quickly. These qualities make him ideal for Kurt Roper’s offense, where he can play both outside positions as well as in the slot if needed.
Currently, Thompson is working behind Quinton Dunbar as the “X” receiver but the “X” and “Z” receivers in Roper’s offense are interchangeable and will flip based on where the ball is positioned on the field.
Another aim of the offense is to quickly get the ball into the hands of playmakers and players who work well in space. Thompson’s production hasn’t shown that he is a playmaker but he is a guy who should have the ball in his hands with some space to work.
Additionally, Thompson will be a player to watch on special teams as a gunner on punt and kickoff coverage and someone who could potentially return kicks and punts.