A little over a year after South Carolina junior linebacker Eldridge Thompson finished high school in Memphis, Tenn., his mom and sister moved to Houston.
Fortunately, for the family, their home avoided any of the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey.
“They just got blessed, to be honest,” Thompson said. “They live in a complex area where the apartment didn’t have any water, but the streets were flooded.
“They were blessed.”
Even with that peace of mind, Thompson speaks with them every day, just to check up on them.
“I’ve talked to him about his mom and sister,” South Carolina coach Will Muschamp said. “They’re doing OK. Obviously, our thoughts and prayers are with that whole situation.”
Ready to pitch in
Thompson “saw some pretty good athletes” playing at Coffeyville Community College, so he wasn’t all that wide-eyed when asked about facing players as good as North Carolina State’s tight end Jaylen Samuels.
“I was just calm in the game,” Thompson said.
That’s sort of the point in recruiting JUCO prospects, to land players with another couple of years of development out of high school. Thompson is a little unique since redshirted his first season of college, due to an ankle injury.
At White Station High School, Thompson was listed by 247Sports as the No. 284 wide receiver in the Class of 2014. His profile listed him at 6-foot-1 193 pounds. Three seasons later, the second of which was cut short by a shoulder injury, Thompson’s up to 215 pounds.
And he’s now serving as an understudy to Skai Moore, one of the best linebackers in the SEC. Thompson, who was credited with a tackle, played a handful of snaps against N.C. State, mostly during red zone and third-down situations. He also saw a lot of action on special teams.
“I know what I have to work on and playing my role right now and being a sponge and absorbing the people in front of me, watching and learning,” Thompson said.
He added, “Skai is a great player. He’s a great teammate, on and off the field, so he teaches on and off the field.”
South Carolina fans caught a glimpse on Saturday: Thompson flashing a skillset that’s reminds folks of Moore.
“I can see that,” Thompson said. “People say that a lot, too. I’m not the only one that’s saying that. I get that a lot here.”
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