Central Catholic's Jayme Thompson, right, is the eighth high school senior to flip his commitment to Ohio State this year.
associated press Enlarge
Jayme Thompson loved everything about West Virginia -- except the distance from home.
A father-son bond led the Central Catholic football star to commit to Ohio State this week, becoming the latest high-profile recruit coach Urban Meyer has convinced to switch their pledge to the Buckeyes.
"Jayme and I have a great, great relationship," said Jayme's father, Deon Thompson. "I just don't want people looking at it like we chose Ohio State because it's a better place than West Virginia. ... It really came down to proximity to home and just being able to play in Ohio."
Thompson, a 6-foot-2, 182-pound free safety, committed to West Virginia on Feb. 2. After Meyer finished scrambling to secure his first class of recruits, Ohio State redoubled its efforts to land Thompson. OSU offered the Central junior a scholarship last month and Thompson committed after a campus visit over the weekend. He also had offers from Nebraska, Missouri, Louisville, Vanderbilt, Illinois, Toledo, Bowling Green, and Buffalo.
Thompson called his change of heart "bittersweet" because of the relationships he formed with second-year Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen and his staff.
He said he could not pass on the opportunity to play for his home-state school.
"West Virginia did a good job of getting a head start on a guy like him and then the other schools took notice and offers kept coming in," Central coach Greg Dempsey said. "That didn't prevent anybody from offering. Ohio State did their research, did their evaluation. They move at a different speed than a lot of schools, and quite honestly, they can. It's Ohio State."
Thompson, ranked a four-star recruit by Rivals.com, said he expects to remain a safety at OSU -- and make his presence felt promptly. He said OSU co-defensive coordinator Everett Withers, who coaches the safeties, told him to "come in ready to play."
"They want him to be ready," Deon Thompson said. "They would definitely prefer not to redshirt him."
Thompson, who would become OSU's first player from Central since wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher in 2010, joins a ballooning list of recent OSU recruits lured away from other schools. In Meyer's first two months at OSU, he persuaded eight players to flip their commitment to OSU.
For Thompson, his father said, it was nothing personal.
"Jamie just made a mature decision," Deon Thompson said. "The [West Virginia] fans on the other hands, they're not as happy. The fans are upset, obviously, but that's the thing that made him fall in love with the school, the passion that the fans had, how they feel about the place. We wish them well."
Contact David Briggs at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6084 or on Twitter @DBriggsBlade.