The recruiting sweepstakes for Trent Thompson took him all across the country. But his heart never left Georgia, which extended him his first offer as a high school junior. Thompson is pictured on a visit to UGA last fall with (left to right), brother Tyreck Thompson, mother Bridgette Flewellen and brother Trey Flewellen. (Special to AJC)

Recruiting frenzy was intense for Thompson

Not only did he come to Georgia rated as a consensus five-star prospect, but he also achieved the No. 1 overall spot in’s composite rankings, which take into account the evaluations of all the major recruiting outlets.

All this kind of slipped up on Bridgette Flewellen, Thompson’s mother. Obviously she knew her middle child was big and good in football. But she didn’t really understand the depth and scope of it until they were in the full throes of the recruiting frenzy.

“I came home and started seeing stacks of mail,” Flewellen said. “The next day, another stack of mail. I’m like, ‘this is getting serious!’ All the sudden I’ve got five or six bags full of mail. Then they started calling, wanting him to come look at this school and that one.’

“I was like, ‘my baby?’ All I could do was look up and say ‘thank you, Lord.’ This is my baby!”

The interesting part of it is that it mostly was for naught. Thompson’s recruitment really was over before it started.

Thompson secretly accepted the first offer he got. It was from Georgia, and it came during their junior day during 2014.

“It was my first offer, the first school I visited, the first coach that came down to meet me and tell me they wanted me at Georgia,” Thompson said. “So I made my mind up I was going there.”

Not that he was going to let that get in the way of this impending adventure. Neither Thompson nor anyone in his family had ever been very far away from Albany. So Thompson readily accepted invitations for official visits to Auburn, Florida, Florida State and USC.

He also went to San Antonio, Texas, for the U.S. Army All-American Game. For that one, his mom went along. It happened to be the first plane flight of her life.

“She was squeezing my leg the whole time,” Thompson tattled.

Flewellen laughed. “I was talking real loud when I got off. I couldn’t hear anything!”

There were times Thompson’s destination was a little less certain. Georgia went through three defensive line coaches during the course of his recruitment, with Rodney Garner leaving for Auburn and then Chris Wilson going to USC. And offensive coordinator Mike Bobo was Thompson’s primary recruiter before accepting the head coaching job at Colorado State.

But both mother and son fell hard for assistant coach Tracy Rocker. And coach Mark Richt has been a constant.

“I love Mark Richt. Love him,” Flewellen said emphatically.

Now that the wooing phase is over, Thompson must prove he was worth all the fuss.

“Ain’t no pressure really,” Thompson said. “I’ve just got to stay focused.”

Said Flewellen: “I want him to graduate, that’s my main thing, I want him to get a degree. If it’s God’s will to bless him to go pro, I’d like that, too. But my main thing is his degree. For all the kids that have an opportunity like this, to go to a (Division I) college and further their education, that’s a blessing. I’m just so thankful.”

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