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baltimoresun.com

Season recap: Avery Thompson

By Matt Bracken

The Baltimore Sun

8:00 AM EST, January 18, 2012

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Avery Thompson wrapped up a standout junior season for Grassfield High in Chesapeake, Va., and promptly moved to South Korea.

Thompson's move, in December 2010, was for a good reason. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound linebacker was meeting up his father -- a colonel in theU.S. Armystationed in South Korea. While the Thompson family reunion was a happy one, it came with a price when it came to football recruiting.

"A lot of college recruiters missed an opportunity to meet him because he committed to his family," said Grassfield coach Martin Asprey. "A lot of coaches like to see ... if they pass the eyeball test. He missed opportunities in the spring to meet college coaches. But it’s pretty remarkable, in this day and age, for ... a young man traveling to South Korea to spend time with his dad."

Thompson returned to Virginia in the middle of May and immediately went back to work on the football field. Soon after, Maryland came through with a scholarship offer, and Thompson accepted in July. In the fall, Thompson set out to prove that the Terps made a good move in offering him.

"He had an outstanding year," Asprey said. "He just played football. He just played really, really tough for us and he was a real vocal leader for us. He did a lot of good things."

In Grassfield's 4-3 defense, Thompson was an outside linebacker who occasionally rotated in at rush end. The senior was a reliable run-stopper who finished his career as the program's all-time leading tackler. Thompson was also capable of making a game-changing play.

In a 21-0 win over Hickory, Thompson picked off two passes, including one he returned for a touchdown. Against Deep Creek -- who the Grizzlies beat, 34-0 -- Thompson recorded 14 tackles. And against Oscar Smith, the future Terp took a reverse 29 yards for a touchdown. It was his only carry of the year.

"He’s an extremely solid competitor," Asprey said. "He doesn’t like to fail. ... He’s got great range, he can run very fast and he’s got the height, too, at 6-3, 6-4."

Thompson finished his senior season with 75 tackles (35 solo), including five sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss. He also contributed two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Grassfield went 10-2, with its two losses coming to Oscar Smith.

Asprey said the Maryland coaches like Thompson's size and his speed. He's got long arms, and the Grassfield coach thinks he has room to grow.

"He’s an outstanding player and an outstanding young man," Asprey said. "Maryland, I believe, has got a great player and a great kid coming."