Four-star strong-side defensive end Dylan Thompson has committed to Ohio State.
This is a big commitment for Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes, because Thompson has tremendous potential. He's ranked as the No. 19 strong-side defensive end in the country and the No. 13 player from the state of Illinois, according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings.
Brad Bournival of ESPN.com reports on Thompson's commitment:
Dylan Thompson’s day at Ohio State started out with a tweet that said “This place is amazing!!!!! I love it!!!!”
That came around 10 a.m. By Saturday afternoon, the 6-foot-5, 270-pound defensive end from Montini Catholic in Lombard, Ill., was the fifth commitment to Ohio State's Class of 2014.
The commitment was confirmed by Paul Szczesny, who is the president and CEO of Core6Athletes and travels with Thompson across the country to various camps and combines.
There's plenty to look forward to with the future of Ohio State football if you're a Buckeyes fan, and if Thompson stays committed, he should be a big part of said future.
Here's my complete scouting report for Ohio State's newest commitment:
- Name: Dylan Thompson
- Hometown: Lombard, Ill.
- School: Montini Catholic High School
- Position: SDE
- Height: 6'5" (247Sports)
- Weight: 270 lbs (247Sports)
- Rankings: 4-star (247Sports Composite), N/R (Rivals), 3-star (Scout.com), N/R (ESPN Recruiting Nation)
Thompson's size is arguably his greatest asset. At 6'5'', 270, he has the size to be physically dominant against the run. He'll be able to play a defender head up and "two-gap" the run, which essentially means that he'll control his lane and be able to rip off into either gap once the runner commits.
He'll also have the strength to push back the line of scrimmage, set the edge and turn the ball back inside to his help, which will be huge, especially in the Big Ten. Because of his height, he should be able to match up very nicely against most offensive linemen.
Even though I really like what he's bringing to the table as a run defender, he should also be a more than adequate pass-rusher as a defensive end. He displays good quickness and agility, and he uses his hands well to disengage the blocker. He may be a very big strong-side defensive end, but he can be valuable in pursuit as well for Ohio State.
Let's take a look at a clip from his sophomore season. In the play below, he executes a simple swim move. While it's incredibly fundamental and expected for such a highly ranked prospect, I bring it up to emphasize that it's a move like this, when combined with Thompson's size, that gives him elite potential.
It's low definition so bare with me, but below you can see Thompson coming off the edge on the left side of the line. He's highlighted by the green arrow and the quarterback by the red:
It's very subtle in this clip, and again, the definition is low, but you can see how he swims his right arm over the shoulder of the blocker, and he presumably pushes the blocker back toward the line of scrimmage with his left hand.
This allows him to "get skinny," which decreases the amount of space on the front of his body and exposes the blocker to his back, as Thompson is now behind him in the backfield—if even slightly. This also opens up his path to the quarterback:
In the next picture, you can see him completing the move by ripping his right arm away, creating space and completely disengaging. The blocker is firmly out of position, and Thompson has a clear path to the quarterback.
The quarterback wisely tries to step up into the pocket, but Thompson uses his agility to make a sharp cut step, get upfield and wrap him up for the sack:
These are small little details of a very fundamental football play from Thompson's perspective, but I believe it's these small skills that give him star potential as a defensive end. He has the natural size, but he also displays great, fundamental talent.
It's hard to find many negatives in highlight film, especially with such a small sample size.
I did notice that he did bite upfield on a counter play to the edge, but he was able to use his size and athleticism to avoid getting kicked out, and he ended up making the play.
He won't be so lucky at the college level because of the strength, size and speed of the linemen. This may have just been on play, but his aggressiveness upfield could be used against him in the misdirection game. It's something worth noting, but he'll be able to read that better with more experience in the future.
Thompson has the potential to be very good in the Big Ten.
His size is great and he displays the fundamentals to be good against both the run and the pass. With a solid group of defensive ends ahead of him in Ohio State's 2013 class, Thompson is really going to have to stand out.
That said, I believe his size will really set him apart, especially in run or goal-line situations, and his natural talent will definitely be on display for Ohio State.
He should be a big rotational player for the Buckeyes at defensive end at first, and his future is very bright.