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August 2, 2011

Terps pledge Avery Thompson wants to 'be great'

Coming from a military family, Avery Thompson has grown up accustomed to order and discipline.

In Maryland’s Randy Edsall, Thompson and his family found a coach who famously values many of those same principles.

“I think they just love the fact that he runs a tight ship,” said Martin Asprey, Thompson’s coach at Grassfield High in Chesapeake, Va. “You know where you’re going to stand, what’s expected of you. … They were impressed with the organization, how Maryland is going about looking to recruit.”

Asprey said Edsall made it very clear where Thompson stood by offering the 6-foot-3, 195-pound linebacker a scholarship. Thompson, who was also receiving interest from Boston College, Virginia and Virginia Tech, pledged to the Terps late last week.

“He’s a great kid,” Asprey said Tuesday. “I think Avery felt it was a great place for him academically. … [His family] lived up there for like three years when he was young. His parents feel a connection with the area. It’s real diverse, a lot of diversity, which I think Avery loves.”

Thompson moved with his family to Chesapeake as a middle school student. He first caught Asprey’s eye as a hard-working eighth-grader. After a freshman season spent at defensive end and tight end, Thompson was brought up to the Grassfield varsity as a sophomore linebacker.

“We kind of felt like he was going to have the opportunity to get a scholarship,” Asprey said. “He’s so rangy. He has a great range of motion and covers [a lot of] ground. And he’s not scared to be physical. Just transitioning to linebacker and learning coverages, playing on his feet, he did that really well.”

Thompson took another step forward during his junior year, leading the Grizzlies in tackles with 35 solo stops and 78 assists. He also contributed nine tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries, 1.5 sacks and one forced fumble.

Edsall discovered Thompson when Grassfield came up to Connecticut for a team camp. Edsall kept tabs on Thompson when he moved on to Maryland, and Terps offensive line coach Tom Brattan served as the go-to recruiter. Asprey said Thompson’s speed (he’s been clocked in the 4.4 range) was one of many things that stood out to the Terps staff.

“From what I understand, they like his length, his range, and he can run and do a lot of things in space,” Asprey said. “I think that’s what they love about him.”

Thompson, who has a 3.7 grade-point average, is expected to play on the outside and rush the passer at Maryland. Asprey thinks the Terps will be very pleased with their latest commitment.

“I think he kind of looked at [College Park] as a home away from Chesapeake, Va.,” Asprey said. “He’s very dedicated and very loyal to our program. He really wants to excel and be great. … I think he’s very happy. He really felt like the weight on his chest is off him.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 1:17 PM | | Comments (0)

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About Matt Bracken

Matt Bracken was a lightly recruited football and tennis prospect out of East Lansing (Mich.) High School in 2001, but spurned all (nonexistent) scholarship offers to attend the University of Michigan. Matt graduated from UM in 2005, earned a master's degree in new media journalism from Northwestern University in 2006, and spent the first 11 months of his career as an online producer / videographer / blogger at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. He has worked at The Baltimore Sun since July 2007, where he currently serves as the deputy sports editor for digital.

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