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Thursday February 7, 2013 Gators National Signing Day Leftovers: Joker Phillips and Brent Pease on WR Chris Thompson


VIDEO: Gators coach Will Muschamp's NSD interview with ESPNU.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Now that the dust has settled a bit after National Signing Day, I want to get back to some of the information gathered from Florida’s assistant coaches on players they individually recruited.

I posted some Q&As with the assistants on Wednesday as the LOIs arrived and were officially validated by UF’s compliance office.

However, I didn’t have enough time to get to them all. So, here are leftovers from a good NSD for the Gators, whose class was ranked No. 2 overall by ESPN.

While the Gators added players from all parts of the Sunshine State and 10 from out of state, receiver Chris Thompson was by far the recruit who lived closest to The Swamp. He grew up in Gainesville and starred at Gainesville High.

A 5-foot-11, 170-pound receiver, Thompson has the kind of speed that makes him a natural vertical threat down the field. He ran a 4.37 40-yard dash last summer at the FAU camp and finished the season with 25 catches for 465 yards and seven touchdowns.

I caught up with receivers coach Joker Phillips and offensive coordinator Brent Pease to talk about Thompson.

Here is my Q&A with Phillips:

Q: What makes Thompson an intriguing prospect?

A: First of all, he's local, which means he has grown up following the program and it's a place that he really truly wants to be. I think that's important. He has grown up wanting to be a Gator. I think you get more out of kids who really want to be Gators.

Q: What does he do on the field well?

A: Just his overall athleticism. He is a great athlete. He's got the necessary speed to play the position. The thing we have to have on the perimeter is play-making ability and he has that.

Q: What's been your role with him in the recruiting process?

A: He was already committed. The thing I've tried to do since I've gotten here is just try to start establishing a relationship with all the guys that were committed and he's one I had a chance to see more than the others because he is local. I feel like I am building a pretty good relationship with him.

Here is my Q&A with Pease about Thompson:

Q: How well have you gotten to know him since he is local?

A: I really like Chris. He came to our camp and he competed. I think we always knew about him, but I think when he came here he competed and showed that he is willing to go. He’s got the ability to go deep, he’s got some quickness, he’ll use his hands. He’s just got that attitude. He’s been around here, so he’s very comfortable with us and we’re familiar with him. He understands that just being around Gainesville, he understands what Florida football is all about, but he wants to take himself to the next level of playing in a program like this.

Q: As a coach, do you always like to have a guy or two who is local?

A: I think you do but they still have to be a good fit and have to be capable. You want them to have a good experience in this whole deal.

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