WVU's Thompson picks up system, kudos early in drills (with video)
MORGANTOWN - It is said all is bigger in Texas.
Except Jordan Thompson.
The new West Virginia receiver from the Lone Star State is but 5-foot-8 and 165 pounds.
Perhaps that's why no major Texas college offered the Mountaineer a scholarship.
WVU coach Dana Holgorsen, however, saw the potential for big things from the Katy, Texas, native. And the receiver is proving him correct early in spring drills.
"If you can't touch him, you can't tackle him," Holgorsen said.
The Mountaineer coach spoke of New England Patriots receiver Wes Welker, who went from 170 pounds to 185 at Texas Tech. He spoke of current Mountaineer star Tavon Austin, who is still listed at but 5-9 and 174 pounds.
"I think Jordan has already added 10 pounds in the last few months," Holgorsen said. "It's not about size - it's more about quickness at that [slot] position. He'll be hit by big guys only if they can touch him."
Thompson is all smiles.
"My experiences here have been very good," he said after practice Tuesday. "Of course, the main adjustment is the speed, the transition from high school to college. But after the second practice, when I got the speed [factor] under my belt, I just knew ... It was back to like being in high school."
Some within the media chuckled. Two practices?
"It only took me two practices," Thompson said with a grin. "I knew I had to pick up my tempo, my motor, play faster and harder. I knew I had to do that to keep up with my boys. Since then, my experiences have been great."
Holgorsen seems to agree.
"He's a tough kid," said the coach. "I'm not giving him any credit right now; he hasn't played a down. He likes to play the game though. He played at Katy High School, one of the most renowned high schools in the entire country - and one of the most physical programs in the entire country.
"He was the second-leading receiver in the city of Houston. I think he's OK playing football. We recruit guys based on what their film says. He scored 21 touchdowns at one of the best high schools in the country, so the guy can play football."
Holgorsen remembered one of Thompson's high school plays in which he was hit so hard by a defensive back the helmet popped off.
"He just put his helmet back on and got ready for the next down," said the coach.
Thompson likewise remembers Holgorsen.
"I feel I was really under the radar [in regard to recruiting]," Thompson said. "I didn't have a lot of exposure. A lot of teams were interested, but weren't really talking to me.
"Then one day my high school coach called me to his office and told me Dana Holgorsen was looking at me. He said [Holgorsen] was going to come to one of my games. So he came down. I only played one half, but ended up with five catches for 125 yards and three touchdowns. From then on, Dana and [assistant coach] Shannon [Dawson] were contacting me non-stop, even when I was in class.
"I had to tell the teacher I had college coaches calling and she'd let me answer."
Thompson said his Dec. 9 visit here "sealed the deal."
"I felt like I fit this system and Dana really knew what he was doing. Another big thing was [WVU] going to the Big 12. Being from Texas, I knew the Big 12 is definitely good football."
Thompson absolutely beamed when relating the story of Holgorsen calling his high school coach.
"[The name of Dana Holgorsen] carries a lot of weight there," said the receiver. "Everybody knows Dana Holgorsen and they know he's the mastermind of the greatest offenses. Everybody in Texas would love to play for Dana Holgorsen."
Thompson, by the way, said he ran a 4.4-second 40-yard dash last summer at the LSU and Texas Tech camps.
"I feel like I have faster in me though," he said.
Thompson said Austin is mentoring him, giving tips against certain defenses. ("He'll say you don't need a Rodger route against that defense, you need a plant and cut," said Thompson.) The freshman said Austin, Stedman Bailey and J.D. Woods have all been helping.
Now he's ready to help himself and show those in Texas that big can come in small packages.
"I feel I have a lot to prove," he said. "I feel [the Texas schools] should have seen me - and they could have had me."
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.