Watch: Bryce Thompson recaps MVP performance in Shrine Bowl
You could call Bryce Thomson one that got away, or at least one that didn’t quite work out for South Carolina football.
He was an explosive athlete in USC’s back yard, a dominant player for one of the state’s best programs who a top-flight coach called the best he’d ever had. But circumstances kept him from coming to USC.
He landed at Tennessee, broke into the starting lineup and has played well at a position he didn’t play full-time in high school. So how has he looked in the eyes of Will Muschamp, a coach he was once committed to?
“He’s played extremely well for them,” Muschamp said. “He’s played well. He’s a physical player. He’s an outstanding football player.”
For the season, Thompson, a 5-foot-11, 180-pound defensive back has 21 tackles, a pair of interceptions, one quarterback hurry and one pass break-up. He’s part of a defense that has struggled mightily this season,the first with head coach Jeremy Pruitt.
Thompson had once been committed to Virginia Tech. After starting his career at Dutch Fork, he transferred to Ben Lippen. After sitting out his sophomore year because of grades, he posted 1,819 yards total offense, 24 touchdowns and three interceptions on defense, while leading the Falcons to a state title pausing the dynasty built by former Gamecock Eric Erik Kimrey at Hammond.
As a senior, Thompson returned to Dutch Fork, posting a dominant campaign. He caught 44 passes for 630 yards and six scores, and playing some running back and wildcat quarterback, ran for 1,369 yards and 29 touchdowns. He also played some defense, posting 28 tackles and one interception (he also returned a blocked kick for a touchdown).
After decommitting from the Hokies in the June before his senior year, he made his pledge to South Carolina just before the Shrine Bowl. But around signing day, news broke he wouldn’t sign with USC, and after some talk of maybe going to Marshall or working on grades, he enrolled in Tennessee at the end of May.
Thompson was a four-star recruit who finished as the No. 301 prospect in his class. He had the ability to play either side of the ball in college, but he had been recruited on defense by USC and clearly has already showed potential in Knoxville.
“He was a really good player at Dutch Fork High School,”Muschamp said.” Played both ways, and he’s done a really nice job at the corner position for Tennessee.”