IU the right fit for JUCO safety Jayme Thompson #iufb

He doesn’t stress prestige and he doesn’t harp on wins and losses. Iowa Western football coach Scott Strohmeier tells his junior college players to settle on the program that feels right, and the rest always seems to fall into place.

Indiana felt like the right fit for safety Jayme Thompson, and the three-star recruit announced Wednesday that he intends to transfer to IU in time for the 2016 season.

In the 247 Sports Composite rankings, Thompson is ranked the No. 47 junior college prospect in his class and the No. 2 ranked safety. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound prospect is the ninth member of Indiana’s 2016 recruiting class and, according to 247 Sports, he’s the highest ranked player in that group.

“I think he fits the style of play in the Big Ten,” Strohmeier said. “He’s physical and a real good tackler. Those are probably his biggest strengths. We had him at safety, and this year we might (play him at linebacker) because of his tackling ability and physicality. In a certain scheme, he could be a nickel back, a linebacker as well, and he could fit in on special teams. Overall, he’s a good player.”

Thompson, a native of Toledo, Ohio, originally gave a commitment to West Virginia out of high school before signing with Ohio State’s 2013 recruiting class as a four-star prospect in the 247 database. He redshirted the 2013 season after suffering a broken ankle and later asked for his release from the Buckeyes’ program in the spring of 2014.

Since moving to Iowa Western, Thompson has fielded interest from a wide range of programs interested in a tough defensive back. Nebraska expressed interest, while Iowa State, Southern Mississippi, Miami and virtually the entire Mid-American Conference offered.

“Anytime we have a kid who bounces back from a four-year school, we try to stress that you only have one more time,” Strohmeier said. “If you don’t make the right decision in high school, you can always go somewhere. But if you go from a four-year to a junior college, you got to make the right decision. Find the right program, find the right academic institution for you. Don’t get caught up in conferences, records or anything. You have to get the right fit. You only have two years to do it. Indiana was the right fit.”

Thompson is expected to arrive at Indiana in January 2016 with the goal of being available for spring practice. He’ll have two years to use his final two seasons of eligibility.

Thompson made 85 tackles and intercepted two passes last fall at Iowa Western. Strohmeier said Indiana expressed heavy interest in Thompson beginning in April. Co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach William Inge, along with safeties coach Noah Joseph, led IU’s pursuit.

Since Thompson arrived at Iowa Western a year ago, Strohmeier said he’s been impressed with his growing maturity. That, and Thompson’s desire to return to a four-year school and make an instant impact.

“The thing for me is Jayme has matured,” Strohmeier said. “You’ve been through a program like an Ohio State and you come into ours and it’s kind of humbling. Even though we feel we have one of the better programs, you don’t get what you get at Ohio State or Indiana. It’s a struggle sometimes. Then, I think you appreciate things more and I think he will when he gets to Indiana. I tell him appreciate the things you have at that level and don’t take them for granted. I think he’s matured in that way.”

Thompson is the third defensive back to give Indiana a verbal pledge for 2016, joining Florida safety Khalil Bryant and Ohio corner A’Shon Riggins.

IU also hosted 2015 junior college corner Quinn Tiggs for an official visit last weekend. Indiana left one scholarship open for this season entering the summer, and with the 2015 roster yet to be finalized, it’s possible that IU could add to this season’s team while continuing to build for 2016.

19 comments

  1. I love these types of recruiting stories, and I appreciate this coach’s philosophy. I love IU’s “opportunistic” recruiting of this young man. We need to do as much of that as possible. Any time you get a kid that “bounces back” from a program like Ohio State, regardless of the reason, he’s got above average talent. And since he’s had two years at a JC, he’s been humbled and allowed to mature, both physically and emotionally. I’ll bet he’s hungry when he arrives in Bloomington, and will appreciate the opportunity at IU. Looks like another great get by Wilson and staff.

  2. Another quality defensive recruit. I hope people give Coach Wilson and Coach Knorr time to bring the defense up to the level the offense usually plays at. So many are saying this year is the year coach must show but Coach Knorr has only had one year to develop our defense. I expect good things with the 2015 team but I know the 2016 team will be a better indication of what kind of job coach Knorr is doing.

    It is odd how out of state players see IU as a place to be yet Indiana’s best high school players keep choosing to play somewhere else. This isn’t just a current problem but one the has been occurring for a long time and I wish it would change. IU will always need out of state players but if the best Indiana kids would stay home they would provide a great nucleus to build a program around. I suppose the grass always looks greener somewhere away from home.

  3. It is amazing the number of in state kids that go out of state lately. Even Notre Dame isn’t getting the local talent they once did. I think some of what is happening in football is the same thing happening in college basketball with the mid-majors. Why go to IU, Purdue, or Notre Dame and possibly sit for 2-3 years before you get your shot, when you can go out of state to a smaller D-1 school or D-1AA school and play right away? We see that in basketball and I think we are starting to see that happen in football. The football talent in Indiana high school football is on the rise and we will see more and more of this happening. However, if IU can string a couple of bowl years together, that may start changing.

  4. Not to over-simplify it, but maybe the old adage, “familiarity breeds contempt” applies to this “problem.” I spent 6th grade through High School in Illinois. When it came time to apply to colleges, I had no interest in attending any college in Illinois! Illinois was/is a good school, but that was irrelevant. I wanted a change of scenery. Then, when I visited IUB, I was sold. The campus seemed so much more beautiful than anything I’d seen at a university in Illinois. And let’s face it, IU Football does not have a good reputation within the state of Indiana. To many sports fans in the state, IU football is a standing joke. That’s unfair, but it’s reality. If you’re really good in High School football, and you’re getting recruited by all these successful football programs rich in football history, located in new and exciting locations, I think it’s natural to conclude that “the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.” That’s another reason I believe IU must invest to expand its recruiting beyond its traditional markets, especially in California and Texas. Kind of like we’ve been doing in Florida in recent years. You have California kids routinely passed over by the big-time California football programs (UCLA, USC, Cal, etc.) that would be first team All State if they had played HS football in Indiana. Those kids are left with offers from schools that are, from an academic and campus-environment standpoint, inferior to IU (San Diego State, Nevada, UNLV, etc.) And IU, as a beautiful and traditional campus environment, has so much to offer college-bound young people, it would not be an impossible sell if we maintained a significant recruiting presence in the state. Same argument applies to Texas. We don’t have to compete against the top football schools in California and Texas. We can improve our football talent/depth by going after kids that those schools pass over on a routine basis. Just look at Boise State’s rosters over the last decade if you don’t believe me. In fact, just look at IU’s current starting QB (from Modesto, Ca). He originally accepted an offer from Arizona, then transferred to IU when RichRod was hired at AZ. He accepted at AZ in part because no top California football schools recruited him in High School. Similar situation with Zander Diamont, who I believe was honored as MVP for Los Angeles County High School football.

  5. Podunk, you are right about the reasons players from Indiana don’t choose IU. I agree that IU can win by getting players from other states and I know Michigan has won over the years with players from states other than Michigan. Michigan does get Michigan kids just like IU but they also need to go out of state to get enough top players to win. I have really liked that Coach Wilson hasn’t settled for second rate Indiana players like we did in the past. It is better to go after players in other football states to fill the team with very good players. Many of the “other” players develop more than the 4 star players so if you choose well and coach them up you can have a very good team like Boise State.

  6. There are about 38 million people living in California. There are more High School football players in each of three counties in California than there are in the entire state of Indiana. The top three California football schools sign about 100 players a year, combined. And not all of them are from California. Oregon, OSU, Washington, WSU, ASU, AZ and all the other PAC-12 schools recruit California hard. Other traditional power football programs across the country recruit California very hard too, and it is not unusual to see California kids going to Florida, Alabama, ND, MI, etc. Stanford gets some players, but they have to recruit nationally because of their unique and very demanding academic standards. It does not take a Ph.D. in statistics to understand just how many very good, high potential High School football players get passed over by the top football programs every year. IU should get in and stay in the California recruiting “game.” Same for Texas. Not at the expense of the traditional recruiting areas, but in addition to them. Take some of Crean’s huge recruiting budget and give it to Wilson. Make a long-term commitment to California. In time, the ROI to IU Athletics would be much greater.

  7. I tend to believe California players are soft. Not much blue collar…Those that are a bit of a tougher breed would likely think long and hard before going to a school so far away that family members are going to take serious hits to the pocketbook to ever come to games.
    A program can’t live on the privileged pantyhose recruits that are sons of celebrities, rappers, or soap opera stars. We need mean and hungry more than just looking like a foldout model in a pair of Calvin Klein jeans. This is the Big 10… This is the Midwest. This is Ohio State…This is where coaches jump off the sideline to tackle an opposing team’s running back breaking through a Buckeye secondary. This is Penn State…This is where men play football and shower with children. This ain’t beach oils and surfer tans….Let’s not go 2500 miles in attempt to turn decades of soft IU football via Days of Our Lives….Can we please man up?

  8. correction:

    “I’m IU Football….and that’s all you need to know.”

  9. Was my reappearance not just like Ali coming off the ropes against Foreman? Was that not a breathtaking flurry of jab’s, left’s, and right’s…and a couple wrongs? Down goes Foreman! Alis was graceful and lightning fast…but he wasn’t soft. Cincinnati kid…Midwesterner. Tough.

  10. …”California players are soft”…that mud won’t stick on the wall…

    Cassius Clay is from L’ville.

  11. Harvard for Hillbillies, You bring your own unique style to the discussion IE “We need mean and hungry more than just looking like a foldout model in a pair of Calvin Klein jeans”. I can say back when I was an IU student I loved the girls that looked like the models in a pair of Calvin Klein The hits keep coming with “A program can’t live on the privileged pantyhose recruits that are sons of celebrities, rappers, or soap opera stars.” or is this a knock on Zandar?

    This is the only place I can come for zingers like these, it must be that Harvard like education.

  12. My bad…I don’t know why I said Cincinnati… Always knew Muhammad was from Louisville. Still a tough Midwesterner from the same town as Remy…Remy was a tough defender with a fearless heart as well.

    California is soft and delicate as ripened avocado flesh….

  13. “I tend to believe California players are soft. Not much blue collar…” LOL, that’s the most ignorant statement I’ve seen posted on the Scoop in months. I kept looking for the part of the post that would signal it was written in jest. There are more blue color kids in California than there are in five Midwestern states combined. Tell NFL defenders that Marshawn Lynch is soft. Was Junior Seau soft? Is Clay Mathews soft? How about Tom Brady? In 2013, there were more native Californians playing in the NFL (225) than any other state. Florida and Texas were ranked second and third, with a186 and 184 respectively. Surprisingly, there were 20 native Hoosiers playing in the NFL, ranking our beloved state 23rd out of 51 (D.C. was included in the count). Go visit LA, Compton, Oakland, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Orange County, Fresno and Bakersfield and tell people you meet there that the young men in their communities are soft, and don’t make for good college football players. LOL

    “California, Texas and Florida have been and always will be the most fertile recruiting states in the country.” Braden Gall, Athlon Sports, January 2014

  14. In 2013, there were more native Californians playing in the NFL (225) than any other state

    No, that is definitely the most ignorant statement ever on Scoop.
    California is enormous. Duh…They also bring the greatest numbers to the electoral college for a national election(almost the same numbers based on population to Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana combined). Population can dictate a lot of things…But on a per capita basis the numbers for Californians in the NFL are merely average(they don’t even make the top 10). Ohio is the 10 highest ranked state for NFL players(1 per 146,000 residents).

    Much like attempting to merely go on population numbers, one could easily claim Indiana isn’t a basketball state, But on a per capita basis, Indiana puts more kids in the NBA than any other state.

    On a per capita basis, California does dominate in surfing and tanning. And raw masses of numbers have nothing to do with toughness or a real passion for something on a per capita basis. I’ll put one Dick Butkus up against any pair of avocado linebackers from California. And I’ll put Indiana kids from all corners this state as the best you’ll find in hoops recruits to anywhere in the world..

    Much like Crean can’t consistently attract the best hoops players from Indiana because of his poor coaching reputation, Wilson must extend his recruiting arm across mountain ranges of the West because “it’s Indiana football” and the best of the Midwest will go to OSU, Michigan, ND, etc….Soft and handsome sons of soap opera stars will see Indiana as a place to get PT and chicks.

  15. Harv is right, Californians are soft wussies. Take it from this long-time resident of the Golden State.

  16. Harv, I referenced California’s population in #8. That’s the point. (You’re actually mocking yourself, but that’s par for the course). A state with a population of 38 million people is going to generate a lot more football players than a state with a population of five million. A state with seven times the number of people and only four power-conference football programs (and Stanford really does not count) is going to have a lot of Big Ten quality talent passed over by the state’s top programs, and therefore available to other schools willing to recruit them.

    As for your claim that young men from California are soft, that’s just a ludicrous statement. It’s just laughable. They may be spoiled by the weather, but they’re not soft on the gridiron. I could fill pages and pages with a list of native Californians who are now in the college and NFL Halls of Fame. And I will remind you of the Big Ten’s record playing against PAC-10/12 teams in the Rose Bowl, beaten like rugs by teams loaded with young men who grew up in California. You know why that’s such a ridiculous comment? Because of the competition those kids face playing football in California is intense. It’s that intense competition that makes them tough football players.

    And by the way DoubleDown, if you’re a long time resident of California, how is it that you claim, in another post, that you have attended every IU football game since 1995? Please explain the obvious contradiction. I doubt you’re flying 2,000 miles six times each fall just to watch IU Football games in Bloomington.

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