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LUFKIN — He doesn’t understand the easy way.
He has seen and experienced events most haven’t. Yet his spirit isn’t jaded or deterred. His faith is still as strong as ever. This is Jerrin Thompson.
At 6-foot-0, 183 pounds, the soon-to-be 18-year old prospect has wisdom beyond his years. The Lufkin four-star was on varsity his freshman year, and was named team captain. He’s led the football program ever since. This is Jerrin Thompson.
The hard-hitting, sure-tackling, dog-mentality having, program-leading talent has dreamed of playing college ball since 4th grade.
“No question, he’s the leader,” said Lufkin head coach Todd Quick. “We go as he goes. He’s the same person everybody thinks he is. There’s no hidden things. He’s truly special.”
With a few prospects each cycle self-promoting at a nauseating rate, don’t believe the hype with Thompson; he had to work to get here.
“He’s been leading us since his freshman year,” Quick said. “He’s the coaches’ voice on the field. We, as coaches, put a lot of stuff on him. We expect big things out of him and he’s always come through.”
For Thompson, he knows he’s a few months from his final game in the Panthers’ purple and gold. He wants to soak everything in before his next journey in Austin.
“I’ve been so blessed,” Thompson said. “I really want us to have a great season and I need a great senior year. Everyone knows the goal is to win state, but the main thing is taking care of my body and mind and helping the young guys keep our tradition going here at Lufkin.”
It’s the humility that stands out. Growing up was hard for the tough-minded Thompson, who lives with his aunt and uncle, and stays with coaches and teammates often. People just gravitate to him. This is Jerrin Thompson.
“I’ve been the voice of the team since my freshman year,” Thompson said. “I feel like it’s natural for me. I want that responsibility. If I work and play hard, so will my teammates. If they don’t, I have no problem telling them.”
Thompson’s versatility certainly allowed him an early opportunity at playing time for the perennially-ranked Panthers. Offense or defense, it did not matter. He played and he produced.
Over the last two years, he’s accumulated almost 200 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 27 pass breakups, six forced fumbles, and three fumble returns. Add to that three INTs, two to the house, and subbing in on offense and special teams when needed. He runs a 4.6 40-yard dash, a 4.1 shuttle, and jumps a 33-inch vertical. Add 2018 District 8-5A Defensive MVP and 2017 first team all-district as a sophomore to his list of accomplishments. Film don’t lie.
LSU, Notre Dame, OU, TCU, and Arkansas offered within the last year, but when Texas and coach Craig Naivar stepped up, Thompson knew his destination.
When a 3.5 core GPA was all he needed for his course preparation for college, he asked a Lufkin assistant, “Is that the highest you can get?”
“4.0 is the highest you can achieve,” the assistant replied.
“Then that’s what I need,” said Thompson. “I need a 4.0 GPA.”
What will Tom Herman and the Texas Longhorns be getting when Thompson enrolls next June?
“They’ll be getting a guy that isn’t afraid to step up, take the lead, and he’ll lead other people,” said Quick. “He’ll be a leader and unafraid to put others before him to help.”