More on Thigpen/UCLA
Colleague Matt Stanmyre sends this report:
Stonewall Jackson running back Damien Thigpen signed with UCLA today, ending a tumultuous two-week span for the speedster from Manassas.
Thigpen orally committed to Tennessee last year, but his status with the program was in question when Coach Phillip Fulmer resigned and was replaced by Lane Kiffin. During Thigpen's official visit to Tennessee late last month, Kiffin told Thigpen that while the Volunteers would honor his scholarship offer, he likely did not factor into the new coach's plans.
That prompted Thigpen to reopen his recruitment; in the past week, UCLA, Notre Dame and Mississippi State offered scholarships, while Auburn and Virginia showed heavy interest. Thigpen visited UCLA this weekend and was wowed by what he heard and saw, Stonewall Coach Mike Dougherty said.
"His visit to Tennessee was pretty disappointing to him," Dougherty said. "I think when he went out to UCLA it was just the opposite. He went out there and they really made him feel like he was going to be a big part of what they were going to be doing. They really made him feel like he was going to be a part of things pretty quick."
The 5-foot-8, 170-pound Thigpen was a coveted recruit because of his blistering 4.34-second time in the 40-yard dash. Dougherty said UCLA told Thigpen he would have the chance to return punts and kicks as a true freshman, and that the Bruins planned to use him similar to how Florida utilized star wideout Percy Harvin this year, by getting him the ball in a variety of ways in space.
"They just need speed, and Damien's a fast kid," Dougherty said. He's a 4.34 kid, and he's every bit of it in equipment, too."
Dougherty was also impressed with how Thigpen handled the news he received from Tennessee. "I wouldn't have handled it as good as he did," Dougherty said. "What a composed kid he is. It's testament to his maturity. He never frowned, never pouted or complained. I really think this was a blessing in disguise."
Also in Prince William County today, four players from Virginia AAA Cardinal District champion Woodbridge signed with college programs. Running back De'Antwan Williams (Rutgers), lineman Austin Brown (Miami-Ohio), linebacker Trey Garvey (Elizabeth City State) and lineman Jay Weatherington (Liberty) each signed with his respective school during a ceremony held at the school.
Posted by: hclark1 | February 5, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse
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