This is no shock. Like Joe Doyle, Bryce Thompson was a freshman All-American in 2018, and his recognition was much more unanimous. Meanwhile, like Alontae Taylor, he was a four-star commitment to Tennessee football in 2018 as an athlete.
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Jeremy Pruitt moved Thompson over to the other starting cornerback spot alongside Taylor, and he started there for 10 games while playing in all 12. In the process, Thompson had three interceptions, 32 tackles, four tackles for a loss, a sack, four passes defended and a forced fumble. So he did it all.
Simply put, Thompson did it all, which is why he received national recognition. This year, he figures to build on that. There’s a chance he becomes the best defender on the team, and the hype behind him is through the roof.
One clear attribute of Thompson’s is his physical abilities. His stats show he is able to hit while also covering lots of ground, so that gives the coaching staff lots of packages in which they can use him. They will likely want to take advantage of that as much as possible. It will make him a lot more dangerous.
It’s pretty interesting that the top three guys on this list are all defensive backs, and Taylor and Thompson are both cornerbacks. That shows you why people are excited about the unit overall. It could be locked up with elite talent for years to come, and with Pruitt and Derrick Ansley, two secondary specialists, running the defense, it’s even in better shape.