FRISCO — Decisions loom for a pair of high-priority Texas defensive targets in the 2020 class. Four-star defensive tackle Vernon Broughton and four-star safety Chris Thompson Jr. have wrapped up their official visits and said at The Opening Finals in Frisco that decisions would come by the start of the season. It could be sooner for Broughton. Both guys are ranked inside the top 12 of the 2020 Fabulous 55.
“I think a week from now, my mother, grandmother and myself plan to go to a restaurant with a pencil and paper and really go through the pros and cons and see where I’m going,” Broughton said. “Every school is nice, so it’s really about where I fit in, where my family is comfortable, and if I want to leave Texas.”
Broughton started his Houston Cypress Ridge varsity career at defensive end. He’s now 6-5, 286 and projected to move inside. The looming question is if he’d rather play in a four-man front at Texas A&M or Arkansas, or in an odd-man front like the ones deployed at Texas and LSU. He’s also taken an official to Ohio State. His first official visit was to Texas back in May. Tom Herman remains actively involved in luring the big-bodied athlete.
“I’m really cool with coach Herman and coach (Oscar) Giles. Herman is involved 100%. He texts me every other day asking me if I’m good and how I’m feeling,” he said. “My family is only a few hours away (from UT) and it’s a great facility.”
Broughton showed up late to the first day of The Opening after attending a family reunion. He’ll participate in drills starting Tuesday. He moves well for a young prospect his size because he’s grown into his frame gradually. He doesn’t carry much bad weight for a teenager approaching 300 pounds. Broughton knows his body will dictate his future position.
“I know I’m going to grow some more, so people are thinking defensive tackle,” Brougton said. “I don’t really care. I just want to be on the field. “
Thompson, from nearby Duncanville, was a late addition to The Opening Finals roster. The 6-2, 195-pound safety took official visits to Texas, Ohio State, Notre Dame and USC. The Longhorns have been the long-time favorites, and those odds grew in Texas’ favor when his teammate Ja’Quinden Jackson pledged to Texas in June.
“Ja’Quinden is recruiting me 24/7. He tells me that they need me,” Jackson said. “Texas has been with me since Day 1. I talk to coach Herman and coach (Craig) Naivar a lot.”
Thompson mentioned a possible commitment date in early August. He didn’t shy away from the suggestions that Texas is leading for his services.
“It’s a big possibility (I commit to Texas),” he admitted. “I just need to pray on it and sit down with my family.”
The immediate impact the safeties in the 2019 class made as freshmen is a main reason the Longhorns are in the mix.
“Texas’ scheme is great. Caden Sterns was propelled his freshman year, as was B.J. Foster,” Thompson said. “I sort of see myself as a Sterns playing high safety with the ability to play nickel.”
If there is a knock on Thompson, it is his straight-line speed. He plays some outside linebacker for Duncanville and is built like an outside linebacker. He hopes to prove his abilities in coverage during his three-day stint in Frisco.
“Want to show my ability to cover because that’s where I’m slept on as a player,” Thompson said. “I’m a football player whenever I get on the field, even without pads on.”