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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Kennedy star taking his time to commit

Defensive end Thompson enjoys recruiting process

By MICHAEL MCLAUGHLIN
P-I REPORTER

BURIEN -- Coach Bob Bourgette remembers the day Everrette Thompson showed up for Kennedy High football tryouts as a gangly freshman. Despite arms and legs that seemed too long for his torso, Thompson practically oozed potential.

More than three years later, Thompson stands 6 feet 6 and weighs 255 pounds. And as his body grew, so did the stack of recruiting letters from college football programs near (Washington) and far.

According to the recruiting Web site Scout.com, Thompson is the state's highest-rated prospect without a college commitment. Scout.com gave Thompson four stars (out of five).

Bellevue center David DeCastro, another four-star prospect, is firmly committed to Stanford despite reports that he was wavering. DeCastro made an official recruiting visit to Washington over the weekend.

"I've given a solid commitment to Stanford," DeCastro said Monday night. "There were reporters trying to put words in my mouth during the Washington visit."

Seven of the remaining eight players on Scout.com's top-10 list have said they will play for Washington. Redmond defensive tackle Trevor Guyton has committed to California.

"(Thompson) has gotten letters from just about every big-time college football program," Bourgette said. "Everrette is so humble, he would get embarrassed when he'd come to my office and there would be huge stacks waiting for him. He finally started to pick them up when nobody was around."

Humility explains why Thompson wouldn't call local newspapers to inform them they had his height and weight wrong for the past two seasons, or that they were spelling his first name incorrectly.

Nor did he complain when Bourgette bounced him around -- from defensive tackle and end, inside and outside linebacker, tight end and wide receiver.

"He'd play wherever we wanted and never said boo," Bourgette said. "That probably hurt him a little in his recruiting, but he never complained, nor did his parents. His family is incredible; all they ever said was 'thank you' or 'what can we do to help?' which is pretty rare these days."

"Playing all those different positions showed off more of my skills," Thompson said. "That's what college coaches say they like about me -- my quickness and athleticism. As far as my height and weight being wrong, it's worked as a great first impression when I finally meet a coach. When they see me at 6-6 and 255 instead of 6-4 and 230, they always get a big smile and comment about how big I am. I like that."

He said he has enjoyed the recruiting process, though it is turning more serious the closer he gets to signing. Thompson said he doesn't see any advantage or disadvantage to waiting a little longer to commit, as his stock has stayed consistently strong in the past year. National signing day is Feb. 6.

As for the process, the pattern has been for a school to send its recruiting coach/coordinator to meet him, followed by an introduction to his potential position coach.

After that comes the head coach.

"The first time I met guys like coach (Tyrone) Willingham and (Oregon) coach (Mike) Bellotti, I was kind of shocked," Thompson said. "It's pretty cool when you get to exchange thoughts and philosophies with some of the best football minds. I just never expected to do anything like that. It's all crazy to me."

Thompson said the best part of the process has been sharing the visits and the excitement with his parents, Einer and Caroline, and his 13-year-old brother, Jason.

The worst part?

"I don't think there is one," he said. "I've enjoyed every part of the process."

He's watched as more and more local players have committed, but it hasn't changed his plans. He said he's sticking to his schedule and expects to make a choice within two weeks after his final recruiting visit.

He has visited Oregon and Washington, and will go to Oregon State this weekend. He took unofficial visits to Boise State, Cal and Notre Dame. He's leaving his fourth and final official visit open, saying he may not use that final trip.

"I kind of have a good idea where I want to go," Thompson said. "I've got a few rocks to turn over and I'll do that on my last visit. I'm waiting for that feeling in my head, heart and gut that says I made the right choice, and it has to be all three."

What will it take to push Thompson to make that decision?

"I don't know yet," he said. "I'm still trying to figure that one out."

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