On August 1st, Withrow star linebacker Ricardo Thompson decided to end his recruitment and gave a verbal pledge to Glenn Mason and the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Ricardo cited his desire to get the decision over with and to play farther away from home as the primary reasons for making the very early commitment. A little more than three months later, Thompson was standing on the Bearcat sideline with approximately 100 other recruits and their families prior to Cincinnati's shocking upset of the #7 ranked and previously undefeated Rutgers Scarlet Knights.
Ricardo spoke to Bearcat Insider Sunday morning and explained the reason for his attendance at Nippert Stadium the previous night. "I've just been thinking of staying at home and if I should. I'm looking at my options. I've been thinking about Minnesota, but I'm thinking about staying home also. I just want to be sure I'm making the right decision."
Last year on national signing day, Coach Dantonio complained about rival coaches not honoring verbal commitments to Cincinnati and aggressively going after committed athletes. According to Thompson, that is not what Cincinnati is doing here. "I'm initiating this."
Thompson's surprise visit to Nippert Stadium on Saturday was an unofficial one, but Ricardo said he was making plans to take an official visit too. "Yes, I'm going to talk it over with Coach Gill and try to set something up." Ted Gill coaches the Bearcat defensive linemen and apparently recruits Withrow High School.
Scout.com lists the 6' 2"/218 pound Tiger linebacker as a three star prospect. Ricardo reports a 4.8 forty-yard-dash time.
The upset of Rutgers, the festive environment at Nippert Stadium and the aggressive Bearcat defense combined to leave a positive impressive on Ricardo. "I was very impressed. The defense went after it-flying around and having fun. I like the way the whole defense is run for the linebackers. They let the linebackers flow and make plays."
As a Withrow Tiger, Ricardo is very familiar with Jamar Howard and has recently spoken to Jamar. "I've talked to Jamar. He went to a junior college to get his grades situated, but he's coming back to play for Cincinnati." Jamar had originally signed with the Golden Gophers but was denied admittance. As Bearcat fans know, Jamar then decided to attend Cincinnati only to have NCAA academic eligibility issues only days before the Bearcats' opening game. Jamar was ultimately declared ineligible to play this season along with Brandon Miller, another Withrow grad and Bearcat recruit.
When Ricardo committed to Minnesota, he talked about his wanting to get away from home. Now Thompson isn't so sure about that and gave two good reasons for possibly staying home to play his college football. "Being close to my Mom and family and UC being a good program." Ricardo also likes the fact that the Bearcats are playing top competition. "They're playing people. Wasn't that like their fifth nationally ranked team they played? They're playing good people, and I like to compete."
Players aren't likely to pick up many additional offers when they verbal prior to their senior season, but Thompson had a handful of offers as early as July. "I had offers from Minnesota, Cincinnati, Miami of Ohio, Kent State and Buffalo."
Bearcat Insider will check back with Ricardo in December to get the latest on his recruitment.