But he's starting to make up for lost time and college recruiters are beginning to take notice, like his recent interest by Wake Forest.
On the field, Thompson's talents are evident. Some things, though, can't be found in a box score or by watching the Sandcrabs on Friday night. He's bright, astute, courteous and the son of Bethune-Cookman University athletics director Lynn W. Thompson.
We caught up with him to find out 10 things you may not know about Matt Thompson.
- Thompson considers himself a better wide receiver than quarterback. He was a receiver until the eighth grade, when his Pop Warner coach switched him to QB because of his calm demeanor. ''I know what the QB does and I have good footwork and I have good hands,'' Thompson said of what makes him a good pass catcher.
- Asked to pick his favorite NFL receiver, Thompson shied away from high-maintenance types such as Terrell Owens, Chad Ochocinco and Brandon Marshall and instead selected former Colts standout Marvin Harrison.''He used to make plays when Peyton Manning and the Colts needed him to,'' Thompson said. ''And when he did, he never celebrated. It was never a show for him.''
- Thompson is considering going out for the baseball team at Seabreeze this year. Besides football, he also plays basketball and runs track. Thompson said he normally is a shortstop but likely would play the outfield ''because I can run down balls.''
- Thompson's normal pregame ritual includes listening to music, some of which he wrote. ''I can rap about football or whatever comes to mind,'' he said. ''It inspires me.''
- He said he has a metal plate and seven pins in his right ankle, a year after injuring it late in a victory against Port Orange Spruce Creek. Thompson, who returned for the Sandcrabs' Class 4A state semifinal loss to Tallahassee Lincoln, said he knew his ankle was broken immediately. ''I had tape around my cleats, and I could feel my ankle falling down, like it was loose,'' he said.
- Thompson said he stayed away from the Sandcrabs while he was injured -- until he got an attitude adjustment in the form of a phone call. ''It was just miserable to watch,'' Thompson said.''Coach [Marc] Beach called and chewed me out. After he said that, I realized even though I was out, it was still my team.''
- Thompson said his favorite comedian is Arnez J, unless you count Seabreeze center Jon Salaam.'' He has to be the funniest person at the school,'' Thompson said.
- Thompson has received scholarship offers from Bethune-Cookman, Florida A&M and Tennessee State. He said he is receiving heavy interest from Wake Forest.
- Wherever he goes to school, Thompson plans to study law or graphic design. He is an avid drawer.''Thats all I do,'' said Thompson, whose favorite picture is of Sandcrabs wide receiver Devonte Mack, another "under-the-radar" college prospect. ''If people in my school need a picture for a project, they usually come to me.''
- When reached by phone, Thompson was at an acupuncture appointment. Asked how he feels the day after playing a football game, he said: ''You don't want to get out of bed. You're sore in spots that you didn't even think you hurt during a game.'' Stephen Ruiz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org