Chip Towers tells a heartwarming story about Trent Thompson’s recruitment.
As recruits go, they don’t come any more highly recommended than Trent Thompson.
Not only did he come to Georgia rated as a consensus five-star prospect, but he also achieved the No. 1 overall spot in 247Sports.com’s composite rankings, which take into account the evaluations of all the major recruiting outlets.
All this kind of slipped up on Bridgette Flewellen, Thompson’s mother. Obviously she knew her middle child was big and good in football. But she didn’t really understand the depth and scope of it until they were in the full throes of the recruiting frenzy.
“I came home and started seeing stacks of mail,” Flewellen said. “The next day, another stack of mail. I’m like, ‘this is getting serious!’ All the sudden I’ve got five or six bags full of mail. Then they started calling, wanting him to come look at this school and that one.’
“I was like, ‘my baby?’ All I could do was look up and say ‘thank you, Lord.’ This is my baby!”
The interesting part of it is that it mostly was for naught. Thompson’s recruitment really was over before it started.
Thompson secretly accepted the first offer he got. It was from Georgia, and it came during their junior day during 2014.
“It was my first offer, the first school I visited, the first coach that came down to meet me and tell me they wanted me at Georgia,” Thompson said. “So I made my mind up I was going there.”
Not that he was going to let that get in the way of this impending adventure. Neither Thompson nor anyone in his family had ever been very far away from Albany. So Thompson readily accepted invitations for official visits to Auburn, Florida, Florida State and USC.
He also went to San Antonio, Texas, for the U.S. Army All-American Game. For that one, his mom went along. It happened to be the first plane flight of her life.
“She was squeezing my leg the whole time,” Thompson tattled.
Flewellen laughed. “I was talking real loud when I got off. I couldn’t hear anything!”
Like I said, that’s sweet. You can’t help but share in Flewellen’s excitement there… until you step back and reflect on the NCAA’s position that a kid who’s never really been far from home with a mom who’s never flown on an airplane before are perfectly capable all on their lonesome of weighing the ins and outs of a national letter of intent.
If Trent Thompson were as skilled at playing baseball as he is at football, we wouldn’t be hearing this charming tale, or at least that wouldn’t be the entire story. Because in preparing for the MLB draft, he would have hired someone to explain the consequences of the most important decision of his young life to him. And nobody would find that inappropriate.
That the NCAA thinks that and, more importantly, is willing to punish a kid who might think about hiring someone to help him with understanding a contract is sad. Honestly, given that Thompson has a learning disability that makes reading difficult, it borders on the outrageous.
But at least they love Mark Richt. That makes it all right.