Colin Thompson turns into a recruiter

PHILADELPHIA -- With early playing time becoming increasingly important in recruiting, an inviting depth chart is often the make-or-break reason for recruits.

Colin Thompson doesn't seem too concerned about it. A tight end from Archbishop Wood in suburban Philadelphia who is committed to Florida, Thompson is hoping to bring another ESPNU 150 tight end on the train to Gainesville.

"I've been working on Kent Taylor pretty hard," said Thompson, ranked the No. 1 tight end in the country. Taylor is No. 4. "He's a tight end, so everyone's like, 'Whoa!' It doesn't bother me. He's a phenomenal person.

"Blocking, receiving, mismatches in the back of the end zone, intermediate routes, long routes. He's a real fast player, but I don't think I'm too far behind him for being a little bigger," Thompson added with a smile.

For now, Thompson has only been able to use his persuasion techniques on Taylor through text messages. In January, Thompson will be invading Taylor's area for the Under Armour Game, which will be played Jan. 5 in St. Petersburg, Fla. Taylor is from Land O' Lakes, Fla., which is about 40 miles south.

On Tuesday, Thompson was given his jersey for the Under Armour Game in a ceremony held at Archbishop Wood. It was part of the 80-stop American Family Insurance selection tour for the Under Armour All-America Game. Thompson had his parents and grandmother on stage with him, and a number of students and teammates were in the audience.

"I didn't expect something huge like this," Thompson said. "I knew they were coming but I didn't know all of the details. I appreciate what Under Amour and American Family Insurance have done, and I love that my family and my teammates are out here, because without them, it really wouldn't mean anything."

Thompson will be the first player in Wood's history to play in the Under Armour Game, which he called an honor considering some of the players who came before him. Wood will have at least six players sign Football Bowl Subdivision scholarships come February.

"Coaching is about helping kids reach their dreams and goals, and when you see their accomplishments and the joy in his eyes, you know all the hard work you put in is worthwhile," Archbishop Wood coach Steve Devlin said. "It's a special day here."

The celebration will be short lived for Thompson, though. He said his focus is right back on the state playoffs, and once his senior season comes to an end, he'll turn his attention to preparing for Florida. Thompson said he can't wait to get back down to Gainesville, and reunite with coach Will Muschamp and offensive coordinator Charlie Weis.

"I'm going to do whatever they need me to do: blocking, receiving, running the right routes, running the team routes where I have to run the play off so someone is wide open across the middle, whatever I have to do to win," he said.

Thompson won't get down to Florida for a little while, so for now doing what it takes to win means getting back on his phone and hounding Taylor and a few other ESPNU 150 members about joining him at Florida.

"I'm going to start talking to [defensive ends] Noah Spence and [Darius] Hamilton from Don Bosco," Thompson said.

Jared Shanker covers Midwest recruiting. He can be reached at jshankerespn@gmail.com.