ALBANY — Westover defensive tackle Trent Thompson has been leaning toward Georgia ever since the Bulldogs were the first to offer him a scholarship in February.
Thursday’s visit from Georgia coach Mark Richt was just another reminder of how coveted the five-star junior is becoming among the top schools in the country.
Richt, who is making his way around SEC country on recruiting trips, became the latest coach from an SEC or ACC program to visit Westover High School when he swung by around lunch time Thursday to meet and greet students and teachers — and also let Thompson know that there’s a place on the Bulldogs’ roster for him.
“(Richt) told (Westover coach Octavia) Jones that they still wanted me to come up for a bowl practice and that I am still their No. 1 guy,” Thompson said. “They are ready for me to commit and get up there.”
Richt can’t officially talk to Thompson outside of UGA school grounds because of NCAA regulations, but the message was sent loud and clear that Richt and his staff are fighting for the 6-foot-3, 290-pound Thompson.
“They love his motor,” Jones said. “And of course they love his size and his ability to move the way he does, find the football and shed off opposing players.”
Richt was preceded this week at Westover by coaches from Clemson, Alabama, Tennessee and North Carolina, but nobody created quite the buzz among students like Richt did on Thursday.
“He got on the intercom and talked to the student body and told them that he was impressed to see nobody out walking the halls and everybody in the classrooms,” Jones said.
It didn’t stay quiet for long.
“Then everybody started running out of their classrooms to see him,” Thompson said. “He walked through the hallway, and everybody started coming out and talking to him and taking pictures. It was a great experience for our school. They see these coaches on TV, and now they see them walking through our halls.”
Thompson said he plans on committing after his senior season and that Georgia remains the leading school.
“I’m going to give everybody a chance,” said Thompson, who has been offered by every top school in the country. “But Georgia is still at the top. … Georgia is telling me that I am really on their mind and that they are looking for a physical guy inside and somebody that can rush the quarterback.”