GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- For wide receiver Chris Thompson, it has been a life-long dream to play for the University of Florida. On Monday, the Gainesville (Fla.) High School senior fulfilled that dream by verbally committing to the Gators. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound athlete chose Florida over offers from Utah, UMass, FAU and Marshall.
After participating at Friday Night Lights camp, Florida head coach Will Muschamp met with Thompson on Monday where he decided to extend a scholarship offer to the speedy wideout. Thompson immediately accepted.
"Florida's always been the team I wanted to play for," Thompson said. "It's home, it's close to my mom -- close to my family. That's why I chose Florida. It feels great. I've always wanted to be a part of Gator Nation. I can't even put it in to words, it feels so great."
For Thompson, he grew up rooting for the Gators, due in large part to the rest of his family being Florida fans. Thompson says that though his family is happy for him, they try to keep him grounded.
"My family [is] real excited -- I mean really excited," he said. "They just tell me not to get the big head and to stay humble and keep working hard."
Thompson said Florida wide receivers coach Aubrey Hill played a key role in his decision to join the Gators.
"He's a great coach," he said. "He tells me the little things I need to work on. Always telling me things I need to do to get better. He's a really good coach."
Thompson, ranked as a three-star recruit by ESPN, ran a 4.37-second 40-yard-dash at the FAU camp earlier this summer and as a junior totaled 32 receptions for 814 yards and six touchdowns. He says that Florida will be getting a hardworking, speedy wide receiver.
"I'm always going hard," Thompson said. "I like to work -- go full speed every play. Florida is getting a good player. With my speed and stuff, I feel like I fit pretty well. On the outside throwing me the ball deep -- I fit pretty well in that offense. I think my speed sets me apart from anyone else, though."
With Thompson's commitment, the Gators have four wide receivers in the class, including Ahmad Fulwood, Rodney Adams and Marqui Hawkins. Thompson says that no matter where he chose, he knows he will have to compete for playing time.
"I feel pretty good about our wide receiver class," he said. "When it all boils down, we are all going to have to work for a spot. We all have to work every day."
On Friday, Thompson had a chance to work with Max Staver, the Florida quarterback pledge who could be throwing him passes in Gainesville. Thompson says the two immediately formed a bond.
"We developed a little connection at camp," Thompson said. "He's a great quarterback. Our timing was great. It felt like we had been practicing for weeks. Just to come out and practice like that with him was great."
The Gators have 21 verbal commitments, including 19 that are ranked four-stars or higher. Thirteen of Florida's pledges are ranked in the ESPN 300.