Who would have thought that a coaching change at Arizona State would be a good thing for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team?
Brentwood Academy all-state wide receiver Al Thompson IV, rated a 3-star prospect by Rivals.com, committed to Arizona State in September. Now, he's headed to UTC. Thompson's commitment give the Mocs 15 leading up to Wednesday's signing day.
The 6-foot-2, 184-pounder Thompson and Arizona State parted ways after coach Dennis Erickson was fired in December. Thompson said he had been quietly considering his options since then and committed to the Mocs during his official visit this weekend.
"I just loved everything about the school, so I went ahead and committed," said Thompson, who was named to the TSWA Division II-AA all-state squad after finishing the season with 51 catches for 745 yards and six touchdowns.
After the split with Arizona State, Thompson did take a visit to Tennessee State, where his father, Al Thompson III, played tight end.
He said he was regularly conversing with Mocs receivers coach Will Healy and always had a good feeling about UTC. The Mocs had one other thing working in their favor -- Thompson's sister, Amanda, is a senior at UTC.
"I'd been there before to see her," he said of visiting UTC's campus, "but I never got a full view like I did this weekend."
Thompson has already had success in Chattanooga. He helped Brentwood Academy to wins at Baylor and McCallie in 2011, highlighted by a six-catch, 89-yard performance against McCallie that included a 9-yard touchdown.
The Mocs are thin at receiver and Thompson is the third wideout to commit to UTC, joining C.J. Board of West Creek (Tenn.) High School and Tray James of Bannaker (Ga.) High School. The chance to play right away, Thompson said, "is definitely one of the things they talked to me about."
UTC had two recruits in for official visits this weekend, along with more than a dozen walk-on prospects. Joining Thompson was Dutchtown (Ga.) High School defensive tackle Darian Small, who had previously committed to Georgia Southern. Small was a Class AAAA second-team all-state pick who is considering UTC, Appalachian State and Georgia Southern.
John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...