August 8, 2014 at 1:00 am

Allen Trieu

'Amazing' defense sells Detroit King star Tyriq Thompson on Michigan State

Tyriq Thompson led Detroit King in tackles last season. (Allen Trieu /

Detroit King linebacker Tyriq Thompson visited many of the schools who offered him through the recruiting process, including a late visit to Michigan, where his father Clarence was an All-Big Ten performer. Yet, throughout the later part of his recruitment, it appeared Michigan State was well ahead of other programs, and Thompson confirmed that when he committed to the Spartans on a Wednesday visit to campus.

"They sold him on a couple things,” King assistant coach Terel Patrick said. “Football wise, he could see himself playing in that system. It's an attacking style of defense, similar what he's used to in high school. He's asked to blitz, play in space, and it's also a four-man front, so he's not taking on 315-pound guards all game at three and a half to four yards.

"They had one of the best defensive line classes in 2014. Having huge 300 pounders, four and five-star guys in front of him, I think he could envision those guys making it easier on himself to make plays."

Thompson visited the Spartans many times over the last year, but one trip that caught his eye was for last year’s Michigan game, a 29-6 MSU win that highlighted the defense he will now be a part of.

"I’ve been really impressed with their defense,” Thompson said, “with their scheme and everything like that. Coach Narduzzi brings the whole defense together and everybody just gets to the ball and runs to the ball. It’s amazing to watch."

After transferring in from Lee’s Summit (Mo.), Thompson had a big year for King, earning All-State honors and leading the team in tackles. A safety early in his high school career, Thompson has now evolved into a linebacker who could play any of the spots, but that early experience as a defensive back remains a big part of his skill set.

“Him having started his high school career in the secondary, he still has way above average cover skills and the frame where he can still put on more weight,” Patrick says. “You add the intelligence on and off the football field, and he can be on the field for three downs and also project to three linebacker spots."

Also an outstanding student, Patrick calls Thompson “easily the most well-rounded kid I've ever coached."

Thompson and the Crusaders begin their season on Aug. 29 against Port Huron.

Recruits observe practice

In addition to Thompson, several other recruits visited for Wednesday’s practice. They included Thompson’s committed teammate Kyonta Stallworth and fellow commit Khari Willis. In addition, Oak Park senior John Kelly, Hinsdale (Ill.) South junior defensive end Josh King, and Orchard Lake St. Mary’s sophomores K.J. Hamler and Josh Ross all attended practice.

King’s teammate, linebacker Robert Regan, and La Grange (Ill.) Nazareth Academy sophomore defensive lineman Devonte Dunn, who had an excellent camp day at Michigan State earlier in the summer, also made their way to campus.

More information

Tyriq Thompson profile

Josh King profile

K.J. Hamler profile

Allen Trieu began covering the state of Michigan for in 2005 and began managing the entire Midwest in 2009. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan State recruiting column appears weekly at For more on MSU recruiting, visit