West Orange (Winter Garden, Fla.) defensive back Lucas Thompson has come a long way in 2011.
From under-the-radar prospect at the beginning of the year, the 6-foot, 185-pounder has become one of the nation's top safeties and a 2012 Under Armour All-American.
After his official jersey ceremony Friday, Thompson was still wondering how it all came about.
"I was just a player with a few offers and all of a sudden you go to this camp and another offer pops up or this coach sees your film and another offer pops up," Thompson said. "Then people start writing good things about you and it snowballs.
"I'm just happy it happened to me."
Like most players accepting their jerseys, Thompson wasn't eager to take it off.
"I wanted to keep it for as long as possible because it felt so real," Thompson added. "The whole setup was nice today. The pictures of the former players and everything.
"Now I can say I'm one of those guys."
Thompson was a consistent presence at every major offseason event in Florida this year. His efforts did not go unnoticed and he was invited to attend The Opening in Oregon before eventually making the ESPNU 150 as a four-star prospect.
Now he will finish his high school football career sharing the field with the best players in the nation.
"These are things that I didn't really know were possible until they happened," Thompson said. "A lot of guys say they wanted to be in this All-American game or make this showcase or something.
"I just wanted to play hard and hopefully get the attention of some schools. This is all amazing and I'm blessed to be here."
Thompson has gotten the attention of plenty of schools, nearly 20 programs have offered and he has a top group of Miami, Louisville, West Virginia, East Carolina and South Carolina. He said he was a Miami fan growing up and he's already taken an official to East Carolina.
"I liked Miami and I still do, I'm trying to take all my visits and see what happens," Thompson said. "I'd say I'm pretty open to the process and I'm just looking for the best fit."
Thompson would also like to see his team get to the playoffs but West Orange doesn't control its destiny.
"We'll see what happens," Thompson said. "I just want to enjoy these last few games with my teammates. Maybe we'll get to the playoffs and that will make it even better."
Corey Long has been covering high school football and recruiting in the Sunshine State since 1995. He can be reached at email@example.com.