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Lucas Thompson is hot commodity

In the early spring defensive back Lucas Thompson (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange) had a single offer -- from Purdue -- to his name.

Now, fresh off of a strong performance at "The Opening" and a recent entry into the ESPNU 150, Thompson has become one of the state's hottest prospects.

The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder has nearly 20 offers from programs such as Miami, Louisville, West Virginia, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Kentucky and Cincinnati.

He's also got the respect of his peers.

"I think he's pretty good," said defensive back Tracy Howard (Miramar, Fla./Miramar), who joined Thompson on Team Vapor Carbon. "He does a lot of good things in the secondary."

There was no shortage of players trying to recruit Thompson, either.

"We've been talking to him a little bit," linebacker Keith Brown (Miami/Norland) said. "I know he likes the 'U' and he's got a couple of other schools on his list."

"I wouldn't mind seeing him in Tampa," defensive back and USF commit Chris Bivins (Gainesville, Fla./Gainesville) said. "He's a great player and he has that real intimidating look you want out of a safety."

Thompson feels like the recognition he's finally receiving is justified based on his body of work.

"It's real good to hear that other players respect you because those are the guys that understand what it's all about," Thompson said.

And he was equally happy about his addition into the 150.

"I always felt like I was one of the top 150 players in the nation so it's nice to finally see my name up there," Thompson said. "It's a little crazy, to be honest."

Thompson says Miami and West Virginia are the schools that stand out for him right now along with South Carolina and Louisville.

"I'm definitely going to visit both schools," Thompson said. "I've always been a Miami fan and I like the way West Virginia plays defense, too.

"I'm going to head to South Carolina and Louisville as well because I like the coaching staffs there."

Waldrop makes it official

Athough things leaked out earlier than he would have liked, offensive lineman Cody Waldrop (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) officially announced his intentions to sign with South Carolina.

The 6-2, 295-pounder chose the Gamecocks over Georgia and North Carolina.

"I dreamt of playing in the SEC since I was little so it really came down to South Carolina and Georgia," Waldrop said. "Both places have beautiful campuses and top facilities, but I had a great connection with [offensive line] Coach [Shawn] Elliott."

Waldrop, who will line up at guard or center for South Carolina, spent his offseason dropping his weight from 315 and already feels the difference.

"I wanted to lose weight to improve my quickness and it's really improved my overall game," Waldrop said. "I feel much more athletic and explosive."

Waldrop says he might try to graduate early and he doesn't plan on taking any other official visits except one back to South Carolina.

Otherwise the commitment to the Gamecocks fits everything Waldrop wants in a college program.

"I love their offense, they like to run the ball and they have a great running back," Waldrop said. "More running backs will commit and Coach [Steve] Spurrier is going to continue to have a physical offense. I love that."

Waldrop said his recruitment is now in the rear-view mirror and he's ready to try and win a state championship with Armwood. The Hawks' season begins in Las Vegas with a televised matchup against Bishop Gorman.

"The team is really motivated from losing in the state championship game last year," Waldrop said. "We're all committed to winning state in 2011."

Jasper takes in UCF

Fresh off of helping Miami Jackson win the 2011 NFL High School Player Development 7-on-7 tournament in Cleveland, wide receiver Deandre Jasper was at UCF on an unofficial visit.

"This is my second time here," Jasper said. "I just wanted to take in practice and catch up with the coaches."

The Knights continue to look for another top-flight receiver, and the 5-10, 180-pounder certainly fits the bill. Jasper has more than 60 receptions for nearly 1,200 yards over the past two seasons.

For Jasper's part the interest is mutual.

"UCF is definitely up there," Jasper said. "They are there with Auburn and a few other schools. I haven't really announced a top group yet."

Jackson, as a representative of the Miami Dolphins, went 10-1 in the 7-on-7 tournament and defeated the representative of the Atlanta Falcons 41-14 in the championship game.

"It was a great experience for the team," Jasper said. "We got to fly to Cleveland and really came together as a group on this trip."

Theus down to three

ESPNU 150 offensive lineman John Theus (Jacksonville, Fla./Bolles) narrowed his list of potential suitors to Georgia, Florida and Texas this week.

The 6-6, 290-pounder is expected to be in Athens for "Dawg Night" and he could leave Athens committed to the Bulldogs.

Theus' main tie to Georgia is the fact his brother, Nathan, is part of Georgia' recruiting class of 2011. However another one of his good friends, Brent Benedict, recently transferred from Georgia to Virginia Tech.

Theus has said he plans on making a verbal commitment before his senior season begins.

News and notes

• Class of 2013 running back Kelvin Taylor (Belle Glade, Fla./Glades Day) announced he'll be attending camp at Alabama this weekend.

• Quarterback Tyler Cameron (Jupiter, Fla./Jupiter) has been offered by LSU. Cameron is headed to the Elite 11 showcase next week.

• Class of 2013 quarterback Cord Sandberg (Bradenton, Fla./Manatee) will be visiting Auburn this weekend.

• Quarterback Nathan Peterman (Jacksonville, Fla./Bartram Trail) will be visiting Wake Forest this weekend. Cincinnati and Vanderbilt also are in the quarterback's final group.

• Add Wake Forest, Temple, North Texas and Grambling State to the list of offers for defensive lineman Sheldon Lewinson (Seffner, Fla./Armwood).

Mailbag

Hey Corey, do you see Miami going after more running backs? We look a little thin there right now. And what position will Randy Johnson play?

Jay Parcik
Plantation, Fla.

Hello Jay, the Hurricanes are a little short on experience at the running back position after Storm Johnson transferred to UCF. I would say that there's a good chance that Duke Johnson will be asked to play running back unless 2011 signee Kevin Grooms can be a capable backup to Lamar Miller and Mike James. Either way I see Duke on the offensive side of the ball. As for future running backs I expect Miami to heavily pursue class of 2013 prospect Greg Bryant (Delray Beach, Fla./American Heritage).

Hey Corey, will you tell people that Derrick Henry (Yulee, Fla./Yulee) CAN play running back at the next level? Just because he's big doesn't mean he has to be a tight end.

Carl Hughes
Jacksonville, Fla.

Hello Carl, given that Henry will likely have more than 10,000 yards and 120 touchdowns in high school before he's done I don't see a school denying him the opportunity to play the position. There's no doubt that Henry is big -- his coaches say he's one of the few kids that tells college coaches he's smaller than he actually is -- but he's also a terrific running back with solid speed (4.54). Maybe he is the next breed of running back. It's certainly worth taking the time to let him try.

Corey Long has been covering high school football and recruiting in the Sunshine State since 1995. He can be reached at coreyespn@gmail.com.