Phil Kornblut

Nine-time state champion coach calls Gamecocks recruiting target the best he’s had

Dutch Fork players give their best imitations of coach Tom Knotts

Seniors Alex Smith, Bryce Thompson and Charles Hoover give their best impersonation of head coach Tom Knotts.
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Seniors Alex Smith, Bryce Thompson and Charles Hoover give their best impersonation of head coach Tom Knotts.

Dutch Fork coach Tom Knotts, who has his team in another state championship game Saturday, said Monday his two way athlete Bryce Thompson is the best football player he's coached in 37 years. That's saying something considering Knotts' coaching success in Charlotte and Columbia. Thompson has had little to say in recent months about his recruiting but Monday he gave a brief update.

"I'm still not sure yet, just trying decide if I still want to graduate early, honestly," Thompson said. "I still want to get bigger, stronger and faster before I move to the next level. My goal is to start my freshman year and be a true freshman, so we're still deciding if I want to graduate early or not."

Thompson said he's dealing with South Carolina, Virginia Tech, NC State and Marshall which was scheduled to visit him Monday. Talk has circulated that Thompson might first go to a junior college but that's not his priority at this point.

"I'm not trying to but you never know what happens," he said. "The goal is to go straight to a four year college."

Thompson has been in touch with USC defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson and he attended the USC-Clemson game at Williams-Brice last Saturday. Thompson said Robinson likes him as a defensive back but USC receivers coach Bryan McClendon wants him over there.

In July Thompson said he had made his decision and was planning to commit then but he had to delay that because he needed more academic work to be completed. He said his mind basically remains made up.

"It's still the same, but you never know, it's still a long time until Signing Day and a lot can change, but as of right now I still know where I'm going."

Thompson added that his goal is to sign during the December early signing period.


▪  Louisville coach Bobby Petrino and a couple of assistants made an in home visit Monday night with their defensive end commitment Jarrett Jackson of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. He has taken an official visit to USC and has visits scheduled for the next two weekends to Pitt and Louisville.

▪  Antonio Barber, a 2020 wide receiver from Rock Hill, was offered by UCLA.