This past Tuesday, Oklahoma State picked up a commitment from Norman High linebacker Cole Thompson. He is the third in-state commitment in OSU’s 2020 class, and the fifth commitment overall. Similar to what I’ve done with the other four 2020 guys, I am going to take a deeper dive into what Thompson’s commitment means for the Cowboys moving forward.
Who Is He?
Since highly touted 2020 linebacker prospect Josh White decommitted from OSU in January, the Cowboys have picked up commitments from two talented linebackers in Bishop McGuinness’ Brynden Walker and Thompson. As I mentioned in Walker’s breakdown, he lined up primarily at defensive end last season, but there’s a chance we could see both guys manning the two linebacker positions on Jim Knowles’ defense in the near future.
Thompson’s recruitment is just now starting to heat up, as the OSSAA rules required him to sit out his sophomore season after transferring from Putnam West to Norman High. MaxPreps.com is missing stats from Norman’s games last season against Enid and Edmond Sante Fe, but according to NewsOK, Thompson had 120 tackles, including 13 for loss. In the nine games MaxPreps has stats for, he also recorded one sack, one forced fumble and had one fumble recovery.
Recruiting Profile (247)
National: No. 855
Inside Linebacker: No. 26
Oklahoma: No. 11
Note: ESPN has Thompson rated as a three-star prospect and he is not yet rated by Rivals.com.
Top Offers: Along with Oklahoma State, the Oklahoma native has offers from Army, Eastern Michigan, Navy and Troy. In addition, Missouri and Texas Tech have shown interest.
How He’d Fit in Stillwater
I was able to watch Norman High’s regular season matchup against Moore and their quarterfinal playoff loss to Owasso. Both Moore and Owasso were playoff teams. Moore lost in the quarterfinals to eventual Oklahoma 6A-I state champion Broken Arrow, and Owasso also lost to Broken Arrow in the semi-finals.
Thompson always lined up as the inside linebacker to the field side, or the wide side of the playing field, even if it wasn’t the strong side. The Tigers did this because Thompson is really good playing in space and seemed to be the best coverage linebacker option on their team. He has great speed at 6-2, 210 pounds and also does a good job of getting through blocks and making the tackle, as you see below.
Thompson also uses his hands really well when fighting off oncoming blockers, and he has great quickness both laterally and moving downhill. Additionally, he has found success coming on the blitz, and we know that will translate well at OSU with how Knowles likes to dial-up pressure. Below you’ll see Thompson shown off his speed on a blitz against Moore.
Thompson played really well in both games, racking up double digital tackles in each contest and a combined six tackles for loss.
I think there is still room for the young linebacker to improve when dropping into coverage, but I expect him to as he is being given plenty of experience at the high school level and was even tasked with lining up on the slot receiver at times. He did struggle on occasion at getting off blocks from big offensive lineman at the second level, but I think he will continue to gain strength and we all know what happens when players get in the weight room with Cowboy strength and conditioning coach Rob Glass.
Overall, I was very impressed with what I saw from Thompson and think he is a big time pickup for the Pokes. I believe his recruitment will start picking up even more steam as he moves into his final high school season, but I think he will stay true to OSU and end up playing for Mike Gundy in Stillwater.
Below are Thompson’s highlights from his junior season.