Gophers football coach Jerry Kill announced Monday the signing of Cedric Thompson, a senior from Calipatria High School in California.
Thompson rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his last seasons. As a senior, he totaled 1,808 yards and 27 touchdowns on 157 carries.
His prowess as a defensive back, though, is what attracted Kill.
âÄúYou never stop recruiting,âÄù Kill said Wednesday at his national signing day press conference, adding shortly after, âÄúWe need another secondary player.âÄù
The late signing of Thompson, who posted 41 tackles, three sacks and four interceptions as a cornerback at Calipatria, speaks to both points.
âÄúCedric is a young man weâÄôre very excited about,âÄù Kill said of the 5-foot-10-inch, 200-pound Thompson in a press release Monday. âÄúWe think Cedric is a real diamond in the rough. He was a little under the radar through signing day, but we think it worked out well for us to get him.âÄù
During his recruiting trip to Minneapolis, fellow Californian and Gophers defensive back Brock Vereen was ThompsonâÄôs host.
Speaking over the phone after returning to California, Thompson said he âÄúfell in loveâÄù with the University of Minnesota during the trip, citing the teamâÄôs desire to win and the visible support around campus for the football team.
Also, Thompson said he connected on a different level with Kill than with some of the other coaches who have courted his talents.
âÄúI think [Kill is] a real nice coach,âÄù Thompson said, calling Kill âÄúunderstandingâÄù and âÄúreal encouraging.âÄù
ThompsonâÄôs coach and guardian, David Shaw, said he has handled most of the recruiting process for Thompson and that schools like Colorado, Arizona and Hawaii have also expressed interest.
However, Thompson said, âÄúMinnesota is more of a place for me.âÄù
Though a standout at two positions, Thompson said that as long as he gets to play, the position heâÄôs at is of little concern.
Asked for his thoughts on playing in one of the most nationally visible conferences in the NCAA, Thompson responded simply, âÄúFootball is football.âÄù
On Monday Thompson became the 23rd Gophers recruit, and the fourth projected secondary player, to sign a letter of intent to play for the Gophers.
On signing day, Kill said he had four available scholarships left, which would mean that with ThompsonâÄôs signing, three remain.
âÄúSome of the best players IâÄôve ever coached âÄ¦ we got them about a month or month and a half after signing date,âÄù Kill said, adding, âÄúThere are kids out there. There are good players everywhere.âÄù