Now he plans to follow in Staubach’s footsteps. The Hillgrove senior quarterback committed last week to the Naval Academy where Staubach captured the 1963 Heisman Trophy.
Not only does the 6-foot, 190 pound Thompson have aspirations to have a Staubach-like career with the Midshipmen, he’s also looking forward to being apart of the inter-service rivalry Navy has with Army.
“It’s definitely a blessing just to have an opportunity to become a Midshipman and play in the biggest game ever (against Army),” Thompson said. “And being a quarterback coming in behind Roger Staubach, that’s amazing. He was a great specimen, especially during that time and hopefully I can bring in some of the stuff that he did.”
Staubach inherited the nickname “Roger The Dodger” for his scrambling ability. Thompson said he developed into a scrambling quarterback his freshman year when Hillgrove was running the triple option under former quarterback Synjyn Days, now playing at Georgia Tech.
And Navy’s triple option offense suits Thompson’s style of play. After serving as primarily a pocket passer his senior year with Hillgrove, Thompson, who threw for 1,864 yards with 16 touchdowns and five interceptions in 2012, is ready get back to his roots. He also ran for 415 yards and five touchdowns.
“They run a triple option offense with a modification,” Thompson said of Navy. “Last year (at Hillgrove) we had guys who didn’t require me to run as much. I’ve been working to get stronger and faster and elevate my game. I’m looking forward to being a running quarterback in the option.”
Like Staubach, who was also a proficient passer during his 11-year career with the Cowboys, Thompson threw the ball often his senior year with Hillgrove where he led the Hawks to a 6-5 overall record and a postseason berth.
With Richardre Bagley and Bakari Oxendine carrying the load in the backfield, Thompson threw the ball more and ended up fifth overall in Cobb County in passing.
Thompson displayed his passing ability early in the year when he threw for 281 yards in four touchdowns in Hillgrove’s season opening win over Hillgrove. During in the second half of Hillgrove’s second game against Lassiter, Thompson nearly rallied the Hawks from a 37-0 first half deficit before settling for a 37-29 loss. He threw for 202 yards in the second half alone and had two touchdown passes, one being an 88-yard strike to Evan Engram.
Other highlight performances was going 13-of-17 for 133 yards and two touchdowns in a 37-15 win over South Cobb late in the year that put the Hawks into the playoffs.
Thompson credits Hillgrove coach Phil Ironside for making him a better passer.
“Coach Ironside sat down with me (before the season) and worked on pre-snap reads and knowing what the defense plans to do,” Thompson said. “He helped me strive to make my decision process quicker and more active.”